The Fact Maker

Sasakawa- India Leprosy Foundation(S-ILF) inaugurates Learning Center for children living in leprosy colony at Rourkela, Odishaon its 15th Foundation Day

Marking 15 years of its establishment, Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation(S-ILF), an organisation dedicated to the social and economic empowerment of persons affected by leprosy and their families,inaugurated a Learning Centre for children living in leprosy colony at Rourkela, Odisha. This is the 11th such centre, run by S-ILF and the first in the state of Odisha. The Learning Centre was inaugurated by Mr. T. V. Narendran, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and CEO & MD, Tata Steel. Learning Centres provide an opportunity to enable all-round development of children living in marginalized leprosy colonies, with an emphasis on both curricular and extra-curricular activities including sports and hobbies. The other activities of S-ILF include provision of livelihood opportunities, scholarship for higher professional education and healthcare through telemedicine of persons affected by leprosy residing in colonies. Socio-economic upliftment of persons affected by leprosy is an important tool to address stigma and discrimination and enable them to lead a life of dignity. The event was conducted across five leprosy colonies in Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Odisha. During the event, past scholarship recipients and livelihood beneficiaries revealed through their testimonials how the support had helped to transform their lives. A cultural event was also organized showcasing talent of youth.These events were captured for all through the virtual platform.

Mr. T. V. Narendran conveyed his immense appreciation for the work being undertaken by S-ILF to eliminate leprosy and how its efforts at providing livelihood and educational support for persons affected by the disease had contributed to overcoming stigma and enable mainstreaming in the society.On the occasion, Mr.Tarun Das, Chairman, S-ILF recalled the major milestones in the 15 years’ journey of S-ILF and that through newer initiatives such as decentralization of offices, S-ILF had ensured that they remain close to the beneficiaries.S-ILF’s Patron, Mr.YoheiSasakawa (WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Elimination of Leprosy), in his message from Japan, congratulated the organisation for its relentless efforts at mainstreaming persons affected by leprosy. Dr.VivekLal, CEO, S-ILF, present at Rourkela, reaffirmed the commitment of the organization to further increase the opportunities for education and livelihood support for the persons affected by leprosy and their families.