Congratulations are in order to Bihar Kashta Kalyan Mahasangh (BKKM), an umbrella group of associations of people affected by leprosy in the northern Indian state of Bihar. They recently received the welcome news that the state government has completed the paperwork to begin dispensing a special pension to be paid to all persons affected by leprosy with Grade II disability. The monthly pension, to the tune of Rs. 1,800 (including Rs. 300 for skills development), will benefit more than 12,500 people in the state.
BKKM first approached the authorities about a pension in 2010. The government in turn asked them for a list of names of people affected by leprosy and their circumstances. In just two weeks, BKKM visited 997 households in 63 colonies, gathered the information and compiled a report, which they presented to the deputy chief minister (see photo). That hard work was the catalyst for the ultimate success of their campaign three years later. We hope that other states will take note and be guided by Bihar’s example.