Sumitra was born in a leprosy colony to leprosy-affected parents. Mr Sunni Lal and Mrs Sanunani Rayamajhi were both incarcerated in Khokana some 50 years ago where they fell in love, married and had their beautiful daughter Sumitra.
Sumitra was brought up in a medieval environment - there was no running water, no electricity and chickens, rabbits and ducks lived on the dirt floor beneath the family’s straw beds. Life was very difficult especially for those who had lost their hands and feet to the disease. Sumitra was educated in a state school and then did an auxillary nursing course, however, she found it impossible to get a job. Sumitra is a victim of the fear and suspicion which attaches itself to all leprosy-affected people, even those like her who have never actually contracted the disease.
From 2009-2014, Promise Nepal sponsored Sumitra to attend a year’s language and computer school, before going on to study a 3 year Staff Nursing Course in English, at the prestigious B & B Nursing Campus, Kathmandu. She completed it with flying colours and is now employed as a full-time staff nurse at Anandaban Hospital.
Dipak met Sumitra regularly at church. In 2007 they married and Dipak moved into the two roomed accommodation Sumitra shared with her parents at Khokana. When Sumitra began her computer and language classes, she had to walk many miles on foot to and from the leprosy colony. Promise Nepal extended a loan to Dipak to buy a motorcycle so he could transport Sumitra to her classes and then get to work, making their life so much easier.
Dipak has also started his own metalwork business, making grills for windows and trusses for buildings, micro-financed by Promise Nepal. Happily married with two healthy children, he and Sumitra now rent an apartment in Kathmandu and have moved her parents out of the leprosy colony to live with them.
Bir Ghale contracted leprosy when he was 12. He spent two years in hospital and left with one clawed hand and three toes missing. He had to earn a living and did so in the fields, hiding his deformity by keeping his shoes on. Eventually his secret was discovered and he ended up jobless and homeless, sleeping in temples for sanctuary. He quickly became a drug addict.
Bir ended up at Khokana Leprosy Colony where he attended Promise Nepal’s sponsored program for painting greeting cards. A keen artist, he has made quite a name for himself. Today, he is often invited to paint people’s homes, enabling him to make a good living for himself and his wife.
Rebika is the daughter of Kasinath Aryal, a leprosy-affected person who was ostracized from the community a long time ago. Today, he is an employee of Ananadaban Hospital and is in charge of the self-care unit. Rebika has lived in the hospital grounds all her life and understands first-hand the plight of leprosy-affected people.
She dreamt of becoming a nurse and Promise Nepal is helping her to fulfil that dream. In 2013-Rebika began studying a three-year nursing course at the Tansen Medical College, Butuwal in west Nepal, with the sponsorship of Promise Nepal.
Yashmin is the daughter of Mr. Laxmi Maharjan who is employed as a driver and a handyman by Sewa Kendra Leprosy Relief (SKLR) to help in their day-to-day work treating Leprosy patients.
Having seen his selfless dedication to the organization, Promise Nepal paid for Yashmin to study for a Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology from the Kathmandu School of Medical Technology. She is now working as a laboratory technician at Sewa Kendra leprosy hospital.
Gopal Hari Pokhrel
Gopal Hari Pokhrel is one of the key staff at Anandaban Hospital and has dedicated his life to serving people affected by leprosy for 27 years.
With the support of Promise Nepal, he has successfully completed a Masters Degree in Public Health Development Studies from Purvanchal University, Kathmandu. His research topic was “Inclusion of Leprosy-Affected People with Self-Help Groups for Social Change and Development in Rautahat District.”
He has been able to share his knowledge of leprosy with a wide range of professionals and now acts as an advocate on behalf of leprosy-affected people. He is using the information gained from his dissertation to train health professionals from SE Asia in community-based rehabilitation. Mr Gopal has also been made the Director of Anadaban’s highly renowned training centre.