Nepal Leprosy Trust, a registered charity, was founded in 1972 with the purpose of improving the lifestyle of people affected by leprosy and other marginalised people. It aims to provide medical, social and economic benefits by providing employment and support.
Its early work consisted of establishing a range of rehabilitation, income generation and financial assistance projects for people affected by leprosy, disadvantaged women and children, and other disadvantaged people. Then, after 20 years of experience, the Trust established Nepal's third leprosy referral hospital at Lalgadh, in the southeast of the country. It was officially opened in 1996 and is now a major centre, offering much more than just medical diagnosis and treatment with 125 staff and receiving 30,000 out-patient visits per year.
NLT works with other disabled and marginalised people as well as those affected by leprosy. It supports them without discrimination to empower, rehabilitate and restore dignity, and thus demonstrates their potential to be active members in their community. To achieve this goal, NLT runs Income Generation, Social Support and Capacity Building programmes through a participatory approach.
The income generation programme trains and provides employment to those who have the ability to work. By providing sheltered workshops, NLT works towards their economic integration, through a fair wage policy, as well as social integration, as work brings together a team on a project. They have been formulated to answer the needs of people affected by leprosy, disabled and marginalised persons, according to their degree of autonomy.
generated in the programmes are marketed by Khola, the trading arm of NLT. Khola
is a BAFTS accredited supplier, while NLT is a member of WFTO (International Federation
for Alternative Trade). Several projects run under the income generation programme,
including batik and garment production, but the following describe the projects
that supply Ganesha with products.
continue to feature prominently in overall sales, with products being exported
to the UK, Ireland, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, etc. HLH provides employment for
20 producers/staff. During 2003-2004, an ex-leprosy patient who needed work, Ms.
Rinku Basnet, joined HLH. Two bag designers, Tina Giuntini and Helen LeVoi from
England, came to design some new bags in leather and fabric in November 2003.
These new designs are becoming very popular for export orders.
The Income Generation Programme produces high-quality handicrafts for sale in local and export markets to make a profit. However, NLT is not a profit-oriented organisation, but rather aims to uplift the lives of marginalised and leprosy-affected people, economically and socially, by providing them with a fair wage, new skills and sheltered workshops. That is how we judge our success. We accept that our products are higher priced than those available in the local market. However, we are confident that for a higher price we can guarantee that the product has been made in a fair trade environment with high quality materials.
By buying a bag or any other product from us you are not only providing a producer with a fair wage but you are also contributing to the running of a leprosy hospital which will eventually be a part of the eradication of leprosy in Nepal. We think that if consumers read up more on how most products are produced in south-east Asia they would not mind paying slightly more for a fair alternative.
We are constantly updating our designs and hope to attract more export orders for all our departments this year.
Ruth Hunter, Nepal Leprosy Trust