Bunu – One young girl’s Story…

Bunu is a quiet 20 year old with a 19 month-old old son called Prakash. She lives in a very small mud house about 30 minutes walk from Lalgadh.

When she was only 2 months pregnant with her son, her husband left one day and did not return until last week. She did not know he was going for so long, nor where he went. She searched her mind trying to think of what she had done to make him leave. As she could think of nothing she presumed it was because she had had leprosy!

Since his return, she has not asked him why he left. Life for Bunu alone has been very hard, trying to feed and clothe herself and her young son; she does not like to talk of the hardships as it upsets her greatly.

The area that she lives is full of poisonous snakes and scorpions and her greatest fear is that Prakash will get bitten by one or other or become sick due to bad water.

When her husband first left, her father-in-law was not supportive but slowly he became more supportive and now regularly helps to care for his grandson. He earns 60 rupees a day cutting firewood in the forest and selling it. (115 rupees to £1).

He looked after Prakash, which enabled Bunu to attend the Independence Training. She has talent in painting, sewing and weaving.

Bunu is originally from India and it was there at the age of ten that she noticed strange symptoms on her skin and her left hand going numb. It was not until several years later that she was properly diagnosed with leprosy and finally she received the correct treatment.

She married at the age of 17. Her husband did not know when he married her that she had leprosy. He was very unhappy when he found out.

Her own family has not given her any support so she often feels very alone. If she has any problems, be they physical, emotional or practical she comes to Lalgadh, either to the Outpatients, Self Care, or the Community Department. She is confident in the support she gets from Lalgadh and she knows people here care about her small family.

She is a bright girl and very much enjoyed the training, as it gave her confidence in her own ability to make a living from her own home. She knows there will be practical difficulties, but she knows the staff at Self-Care will work with her to solve any problems.

One problem is keeping fabric clean and free from rat damage so the plan is to give each lady a tin box to keep supplies and work in. Another need is for each lady to have her own sewing machine. This need will be addressed when funds become available.

Her plan is to work hard and provide food, clothing and education for her fast growing son. Her husband is back for the time being but his plans are uncertain. Staff will spend time with him and talk through these issues.