stories of empowerment

Empowerment – benefitting one and all

NLT works to empower people with disabilities so that they can enjoy health, human rights and respect, regardless of gender, race or religion.

Working with marginalised communities in Province 2 of Nepal, our groundbreaking model treats women and men affected by leprosy. By caring for themselves and others in self-help groups, they overcome social stigma and become leaders, bringing practical improvements to their whole community through Village Alive Projects (VAPs). Benefits are thus both individual and communal.

Within a few months VAPs have brought great, measurable improvements in education and sanitation and have boosted economic growth, often through women. As traditional attitudes change, they are no longer confined to their homes and have started small businesses such as goat-keeping, mushroom farming and sewing. Young girls are now attending school, which was previously discouraged, and women are becoming leaders.

Somani Devi Sadha, Rural Health Facilitator, Manara village. Photo: R.Thomas ©NLT2019

Somani Devi Sadha  is proud to have been elected as her village’s Rural Health Facilitator. ‘I can talk to others comfortably and frankly, so I can speak up for people.’ She has been trained to recognise dengue fever, malaria, TB and cancer, as well as to promote good nutrition. ‘Before, I had no identity. Now people trust and respect me. I have to trust them too and bring people together to help the village.’ Before the VAP, she says children were wandering around the village, dirty and not going to school. ‘Lalgadh taught us why education is important and why we must keep clean. Now we must help ourselves.’

Women in Itaharwa Village used to cover their faces with scarves and were afraid to talk, let alone voice opinions. The VAP has empowered them to have a say, and often lead, the development of their community, breaking the veil of silence both literally and physically.

Lady in Itaharwa village lifts her veil. Photo: R. Thomas ©NLT2019


Three women from Gourishanker village received training in September 2019 and, with seed money from Lalgadh, started keeping goats and pigs and mushroom farming (this requires only a few weeks’ growth in a small dark space, which many have in their houses, before the mushrooms can be sold).

Kalia Ram very happy with mushrooms growing business in her home, Gourishanker village. Photo: R.Thomas ©NLT2019

Kalia Ram trained at Lalgadh to grow mushrooms in her house and to earn an income from her produce.