"The first time that I saw a person with leprosy was on my first trip to India twenty uears ago. At that time I did not realize that leprosy still existed or that it was such a severe problem in India. Since then I have been deeply touched by their plight and have made a point to visit their colonies and hospitals through-ought India and make personal contact with individuals that have the disease. These photographs were taken predominately at a leper colony that is walking distance from the school where I volunteer for three months of the year. I am intereseted in organization some type of aid for this leper colony in Varanasi, India. If you have any ideas or insights please contact me." - Catherine Jansen
Insight Into Leprosy:
"Despite modern therapy, leprosy is still a persistent disease in many parts of the world, and in many cases the disfigurement and disability caused by the infection cannot be reversed. Millions of people alive today either have or have had leprosy, and more than 50,000 currently require treatment. Some 60,000 new cases arise every year.... India has the largest number of cases, with more than 60% of the world's infect persons." - Encyclopedia Britanica 2008
Leprosy is easily treated with a multi-drug therapy that was discovered in 1985 that is available free to all leprosy patients. Thirty five out of thirty seven countries effected have reached elimination - elimination being defined as the rate of prevalence being less than one in 10, 000. Because of poverty, poor education, and social rejection leprosy continues to ravage families and small communities across the world, most notably in India. Lepers are forced to move into small communities, or "colonies", where they live and support each-other - begging on the streets because they are unable to find employment.