Maureen O’Connell, CFO at Scholastic, Joins Hands to Support the Leprosy Mission Trust India

June 23, 2014

NEW DELHI, India, June 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –

The Leprosy Mission Trust of India (LMTI) announced that Maureen O’Connell, CFO at
Scholastic Corporation [http://maureeneoconnell.com ], has joined hands to support the
HEAL India initiative by the Trust. She has not just joined as a donor but is willing to
support as a volunteer as well. The donation will extend support towards creating
awareness about the cause, myths, educational programmes, job opportunities, rights &
entitlements among the schools, communities, people affected by leprosy and their families
to enable them to lead a life of dignity.

People affected with leprosy are known to be stigmatized, discriminated and their
human rights are consistently violated. “Misconceptions lead to discrimination, denying
people affected by leprosy the right to a job they deserve. HEAL India is helping people
affected by leprosy access employment opportunities. Helping them improve their skills
through workshops, trainings and connecting them to organizations. Giving them a fair
chance to earn a living.”

“Millions of people have been cured of leprosy and yet, many struggle to get a job.
Most of them are able, talented and hardworking and a lot like us – except they don’t get
a chance to work and have an economically empowered future,” said Dr. Sunil Anand,
Director Of The Leprosy Mission Trust of India.

A big issue is that in many parts of India, leprosy is seen as a curse or a justified
punishment for the sins people have committed and is considered infectious as well. This
is not just limited to social discrimination as at least 17 national and 40 state laws
contain discriminatory laws including prohibiting affected people from contesting
elections, obtaining a driving license and travelling in trains. There are also existing
laws that can allow leprosy to be used as a reason for divorce which means affected people
can lose their home, belongings and access to their children.

Maureen O’Connell said, “I am touched with the conditions of people affected by
leprosy and the discrimination against them and I hope I can help improve the lives of
these people in some way. It is very disheartening to see what they go through because of
social stigmas.”

Leprosy can be fully treated and cured within 6-12 weeks. There are over 850 colonies
for people affected with leprosy in India. The LMTI is advocating including them into
mainstream society.

        Nikita Sarah

SOURCE The Leprosy Mission Trust of India (LMTI)

Source: PR Newswire

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