After the sudden death of her husband, 28-year-old Neha was all alone. Furthermore, the young woman suffered from leprosy. Her hands and feet gradually grew disfigured, leaving Neha unable to work and making it extremely difficult to care for her children. As the condition’s effect on her foot worsened, she was no longer able to even leave the house. In this dire situation, Damien Foundation’s healthcare workers came to her aid.

Neha’s family is from Bihar, India’s poorest state. More than half of the population is undernourished. As is common in Bihar, Neha was married off at a young age. She has two children, Kishan (14) and Aisha (12). The family lives a simple, peaceful life. Neha loves her spouse and children and, in her role of housewife, she does all she can to make them happy.

Tragedy strikes

Unfortunately, tragedy struck the young family. One day, Neha noticed a loss of sensation in her hands. While cooking, she didn’t feel the hot pans burning her skin, causing injuries. After some time, she also found that it was harder to move her fingers. Neha did not understand where these strange symptoms were coming from and found it harder and harder to household chores. She felt like she had failed as a mother and wife, but her husband reassured her that he still loved her and would always protect their family.

However, life can be relentless. Neha’s husband suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 28. Neha was left alone with two children. At the same time, leprosy was wreaking havoc on her body. Her left foot also became affected so that she had to drag it along the ground. Neha’s mother Geetha had no choice but to move in with them in order to care for the family. Neha was no longer willing to leave the house herself and sank into a deep depression. In particular, she worried about Kishan and Aisha. What was going to become of her children?

Reconstructive surgery and financial support

Damien Foundation India is actively involved in fighting leprosy and TB in the province of Bihar. When a Damien Foundation mobile team visited the village, they meet Neha. They offered her treatment for leprosy and also recommended reconstructive surgery, at no cost to her. Neha’s foot was soon operated on, enabling her to walk normally again. The young woman will soon undergo surgery to make her hand and fingers mobile again. The Damien Foundation teams are teaching her how to prevent further injury.

But that’s not all. Damien Foundation realised that the young widow was in a vulnerable position and decided to offer her further support. Damien Foundation provided start-up capital, allowing Neha to set up a small jewellery shop at home. The income from this allows her to feed her children and send them to school. Her only wish is that her children can grow up happy.

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