Salamatou Djibeye lives in Téra, a town in the Tillabéri region in the far west of Niger, close to the border with Burkina Faso. There is a lot of leprosy in the area, and The Leprosy Mission has been working there for some years.
When she first contracted leprosy, Salamatou was married and had five children. People experiencing leprosy in Niger are often rejected by family and community, such is the fear of the disease. When Salamatou contracted leprosy, her husband left her and even married another woman. But after she received treatment and was cured, her husband returned to her and they had their sixth child. He divorced his second wife. Now, she says, she lives with her husband and their children in peace and total tranquillity.
To meet the needs of her family, Salamatou began selling donuts and other small products. Her husband is a farmer and also does odd jobs in the Téra market.
As a result of her experiences, and with encouragement from The Leprosy Mission, Salamatou has become a voice for leprosy awareness. She has been educating her neighbours and other community members on the prevention and treatment of leprosy – most vitally, that it can be cured.