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Thresia, who overcame self-stigma to pursue her dreams

Thresia wears a yellow shirt and looks to camera
© Daniel Christiansz

Thresia’s mother died when she was young and she was diagnosed with leprosy when she was eight. Due to slow treatment of leprosy, Thresia also developed an ulcer on her foot, which made it difficult to walk.

Thresia suffered from self-stigma, which held her back

Many persons affected by leprosy experience shame because of the stigma surrounding the disease. Unfortunately, Thresia was no different.

“Because of my leprosy I felt shy around my friends at school. When I found out I had leprosy I completely stopped going to school.

“My friends stopped asking about me. When I saw my classmates in my community, I tried to hide from them. I was haunted by how they would tease me, so I avoided them altogether.”

Thankfully, Thresia started to regain her confidence and return to her studies

“When The Leprosy Mission began supporting me, my confidence began to grow. The Leprosy Mission Community Facilitator encouraged me to continue with my education.

“Through the help of The Leprosy Mission, I felt confident enough to go back to school. When I returned to school having been cured of leprosy, my friends stopped teasing me.

“It makes me happy to be back at school. Now I spend lots of time with my friends outside of class.

“Before I heard about The Leprosy Mission, I had given up on going to school. But now I am continuing my education."

Now Thresia has an important message for other girls

“I want to tell other girls affected by leprosy that ‘I was like you.’ I would encourage them to continue with their studies in spite of their leprosy and the discrimination they may receive.

“I now know that leprosy cannot stop me from pursuing my dreams.”

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