SILF presents first Rising to Dignity awards on Anti-Leprosy Day.
World Leprosy Day is celebrated on the last Sunday in January as an important opportunity for governments, NGOs and organizations of people affected by leprosy to raise public awareness of the disease.
In India, where the day is observed each year on January 30 as Anti-Leprosy Day, the Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation (SILF) presented its first-ever Rising to Dignity awards. The awards recognize outstanding examples of successful micro-enterprises that have received loans from SILF under its livelihood funding initiative started in 2008.
The winning projects are all based in self-settled colonies of persons affected by leprosy. They were selected on the basis of the hard work and commitment demonstrated by those running them.
Recognized for their achievements were: Hanuman Nagar Kushth Vasahath's dairy farming project (Kalyan, Maharashtra); Sheetalamata Kushth Dham Sewa Samiti's project to manufacture silver ornaments (Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh); and Swami Vivekananda Kushth Ashram's project to rent batteries (Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh).
The winners received a cash prize of 100,000 rupees and a trophy at a ceremony held at the residence of Shri Salman Kurshid, Minister for Water Resources and Minority Affairs.
Anti-Leprosy Day in India is celebrated on the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. It commemorates his selfless care of people affected by the disease and the effort he made to combat stigma.
The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health has announced that it will create a museum at Hendala leprosy hospital outside the capital, Colombo. The hospital was established by the Dutch in 1708, and a stone plaque engraved with the foundation date can still be seen. Among the buildings on the hospital grounds is a Dutch-style church.
In times past, people with leprosy were forcibly admitted to Hendala, but the hospital stopped taking new admissions in the early 1980s.
The museum is due to open on World Leprosy Day 2012.