This week, one of our Vice-Presidents has gained new, first-hand insight into the struggles faced by people affected by leprosy. Ann Widdecombe is best known as a retired politician, writer, broadcaster, and contestant on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. But she’s also a committed supporter of our work and has been a Vice-President of The Leprosy Mission since 2006. She’s been spending the week visiting our projects in Ethiopia and talking to some of the people we help about their lives.
Along with Head of Marketing and Communications Rosalyn Palmer and one of our board members, Peter Waddup, Ann has visited the Woreda 1 slum in Addis Ababa, which is situated near the ALERT leprosy hospital. When we visited the community in 2012, we found there were just 150 toilets shared between 24,000 residents, which is why much of our project work there will focus on providing improved sanitation in the form of toilets, showers and water points.
The three-year project will also help people affected by leprosy and other disabilities to start their own businesses, develop employment opportunities, train people in health and hygiene awareness, leprosy awareness and self care.
Pictured above are Ann and Peter praying with Tesfaye and Bayoush, a couple who are benefiting from our work in Addis Ababa.
Peter said: “It has been humbling to represent The Leprosy Mission in Ethiopia and meet those affected by leprosy who, even in these awful living conditions, are marginalised by their own community.
“I am thrilled that Ann has given up a week of her valuable time to raise awareness of the injustices of this world and highlight the difficult job of survival for people affected by leprosy and living in slums.”