Rachna is a full time employee at Lepra Society’s Munger Referral Centre in Bihar. She has an advanced diploma in Health Assistance and Nursing and she is studying for a BA in sociology. She is a member of the State Forum of leprosy affected people in Bihar. She lives with her parents and two children in Bihar.
See video featuring Rachna’s work at the Referral Centre
Rachna was married at 18 and had two children by 21. She was 24 when she became aware of leprosy when darks spots appeared on her face. Her husband and his family felt justified in forcing her out of her home. Although her parents came to the rescue it was thanks to Lepra that she received proper treatment for leprosy and started to recover. Lepra encouraged Rachna to become a community ambassador to inspire others affected by leprosy and has sponsored her further education.
Rachna’s life purpose is to help other people with leprosy. She does this every day with rare patience and compassion teaching people how to care for themselves through a set of practices. She is also a key member of the State Forum of leprosy affected people in Bihar through which she helps raise awareness in leprosy colonies and advocates for their rights to a life of dignity.
This group recently won the highest disability pension in the country for people with leprosy-related disabilities and are now fighting for land rights so that people with leprosy are not unfairly evicted.
In 2014, Rachna was cast in Al Jazeera’s documentary on leprosy called Ancient Enemy in their Lifelines series. She also appeared as a Lifelines Health Hero.
Watch the video clip here.
Rachna was invited to China at a meeting organised by the World Health Organization where she represented people affected by leprosy in India. She was also short-listed for BOND’s 2014 Humanitarian Awards.
In Rachna’s words, “my dream is for India and the world to be free from leprosy. Every time I come across someone affected by leprosy the first thing I tell them is not to feel ashamed of their condition and hold their heads high. There is no need to have fear.”