As more than a hundred countries are marking World Leprosy Day today, the Leprosy Mission is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for its hospital in Nepal.
One of the patients at the Anandaban hospital is Sita,who was diagnosed with the disease seven years ago when she was only 11. She has suffered permanent nerve damage and deformities as a result of her leprosy, but was still able to receive a multidrug therapy cure for leprosy and have operations on her hands and feet to reverse some of the effects.
Her hands are still quite weak as a result of anaesthesia means and remains susceptible to injury, something which could have been prevented with early treatment.
Around a quarter of a million new cases of leprosy are detected each year and is a disease that mainly affects the poor. The Leprosy Mission supports victims by providing housing, education and small business loans to help them overcome their circumstances.
The charity sponsors Sita's education as her father was too poor to keep up with the payments. Her dream is to train as a nurse.
"If I’m a nurse I could help heal people and at the same time speak up for people affected by leprosy and tell people that physical disability can be prevented," she said.
Today, churches are marking World Leprosy Day by raising awareness of the disease and fundraising.
On the web: www.worldleprosyday.org.uk