Akatot’s Story

Akatot lived in one of the Leprosy Mission sponsored complexes in Uganda for over 20 years. Her family had long abandoned her.

At first it seemed a small thing, her hands were numb and often refused to cooperate. Yet she didn’t complain. Her feet grew numb and sores festered on her soles. She was forced to crawl on her hands and knees.

Akatot was a constant reminder of the threat of leprosy. Her family was terrified that they would be affected and they asked her to leave. The hospital welcomed her. The effects of leprosy were already well established and even though, technically, she is fully cured, she has lost all of her fingers and most of her toes. Her life is quiet and unimposing.

Yet there are moments of great joy, like the day Mary McAleese, President of Ireland (1997 – 2011) and Patron of The Leprosy Mission, visited the hospital. Lifting her hands in sheer joy, Akatot caught the attention of the President.

When President McAleese reached her hands out to clasp Akatot’s hands, Akatot was overwhelmed. For a woman whose own family refused to touch her, this was a moment she would never forget. For days she talked about “Her Majesty” who came to see her.

More inspirational people…


Indrakhala’s Story:

Indrakhala, like any of us, longs for happiness. It would be so simple. She longs for freedom from the grip of leprosy that enslaves her. She longs for a family who would once again accept her. She simply longs for love.

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Murugan’s Story:

Murugan stood beside a thick branch on the outskirts of his village, a rope held loosely in his gnarled, misshapen hands. Tears blurred his vision. The noose was placed around his neck.

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Kamla’s Story:

Kamla has done nothing wrong. She is a hard-working wife and mother. But since she contracted leprosy, her friends and family can’t see past her disease.

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