Leprosy is still a critical concern in Bangladesh – each week, 50 people and their families will be impacted by this horrific disease. These families know the stigma of leprosy, but few have access to the cure. They have seen the revulsion in the eyes of strangers, neighbours and even those they love. They lack the knowledge and the tools to care for themselves and, without support, they have plunged into desperate poverty. The World Health Organization calls it Ultra Poverty.

Poverty in Bangladesh: earning less than $16.53 (CDN)
per month (1,000 Bangladeshi Taka).

Canadians can hardly imagine stretching $20 over an entire month.

But many people in Northern Bangladesh live on less. They depend on the kindness of others to help them survive. They have no voice to change their circumstances.

Yet you do. Canadians have the voice and the resources.

Working together, we help community health teams in Bangladesh reach people negatively impacted by Ultra Poverty. In 2016, effect:hope surveyed and identified
120 highly vulnerable families living in Ultra Poverty and in need of help.

Raising a dairy cow provides daily nutrition and helps generate an income.

Help began by teaching simple life skills: personal hygiene, caring for ulcers to reduce long-term disability, the importance of clean water and sanitation. As these skills become daily habits, new skills are introduced: how to care for livestock, managing a market stand, simple math and business practises.

We have learned that the best results happen when we work one-on-one with the participant. We visit their home, get to know their family and regularly check up on how they are progressing.

Many people have not had regular employment for years. The stigma of disability has closed every door they tried to open. In many cases, a community health team’s first task is to overcome years of stigma, helping each person understand that they
are valuable.

Once they understand, they grasp new opportunities with enthusiasm. This past year, the impact on the lives of 120 families has been exceptional in the following ways:

  • 89% of participants have been free from ulcers because they now understand the importance of caring for each and every wound.
  • 40 people opened their own bank account for the very first time – as a result of income-generation training, they now have a steady income.
  • 50 people were enrolled in local school programs to increase their level of basic education. Every one of them passed their exams.
    Initial results are very positive. Thank you for your partnership – you are changing lives. But more than that, you are transforming entire communities.

Aging carries many challenges, but none so severe as living in Ultra Poverty. Leprosy-related disabilities rob men and women of dignity and self-worth.

Our Program At A Glance:

Name:
North-West Bangladesh Ultra Poverty Initiative Project (NUPIP)

Country:
North-West Bangladesh

Goal:
Equip families living in Ultra Poverty with the tools they need to thrive

Number of families
in the program:
120