Zenebework has been facing many social and economic problems. Individuals experiencing disabilities due to leprosy are more vulnerable to endless stigma and discrimination than any others disability cases by society. Even after they have been cured they are unable to lead an ordinary life due to the consequence of its complication. As the result of wide misconception about leprosy many people have left their birth place and home and forced to live in groups known as leprosy colonies. The problems of discrimination and stigma affect the self-esteem of the community and cannot go to school due to fear of it.
Deep rooted stereotype and myth regarding persons affected by leprosy and their families creates multidimensional problems. The problem is vicious circle that is from parents to children. As it is plainly observed poverty emanates from disability aggravates stigma, discrimination and unemployment which finally lead to socio-economic dependency and psychological trauma. Particularly, leprosy affected elders are the most people at risk of the problem emanated from the poverty coupled with sever disability. As the result, most of elder of persons affected by leprosy leading destitute live.
One of the unique features of people disabled by leprosy compared to other disabled people in Ethiopia is that they have been concentrated into ghettos or settlements often as a result of government action or spontaneously seeking medical, holy-water or traditional cure services. This has reinforced the deep-rooted misconception about leprosy and persons affected by it. Many of the settlements or ghettos are not the birthplaces of the persons affected by leprosy; almost all are migrants.
All in all, the approach to leprosy was institutional or charity model where they were made to recipients of supports to the government and charitable organizations. As the free medical, care and support, physical and socio-economic rehabilitation services were in one place provided by the institutions established mentioned above, like prevention of disability shoes, vasiline, orthopedic and orthotic appliances including free treatment of other diseases were easily accessible.
Underlying Theory of Change (UTOC)
Most of Zenebework community members are leprosy affected and other marginalized people with their families. The community members are marginalized and leading their life by begging and collecting some leftover food items from other community. Some of the NGOs have been working different intervention on the community to make them self-sufficient and economically empower but the problem of the approaches of the project, most projects have not been achieved their goals. Their problems are continuing with them and dependency syndrome has not broken in some point.
In order to break the vicious circle problem of the leprosy affected people, the capability and interest and asset based approach will be employed. The leprosy affected community wants to be self-sufficient and independent in different aspects of life, if they get a chance for empowerment and created conducive environment. To enhance and maintain their economic capacity of the community, the existing social institutions like Iddir and Senbetewill be highly involved for their development agenda. Community will be mobilized for self-help groups and use as a tool to empower the community.
The expected short term outcomes are strengthened the capacity of the social intuitions (Iddirs and Senbete), the level of awareness of the community regarding to leprosy increased, community members will be supported by social institutions (instead of look for external donors), self-help groups organized.
The expected long term out comes in the community are social inclusion, economically self-sufficient and empowered community created. House hold income increased and they can send their children to school.
- If community members have better understanding about the nature and cases of leprosy disease, social inclusive will improved.
- If leprosy affected community participate in their problems, they can design local solution based on their capability and interest, in addition they know who need assistance.
- If individuals of the community are supported by their local institution/Iddirs, The community feels belongingness for the intervention.
- If the livelihoods of the community members improve, they can send their children to school.
Where I am now
Now, I am working in NGO whose ultimate goals are to empower marginalized community and to maintain their dignity in the general public. My organization has a project called “holistic community development for leprosy affected people “with this community where I have been doing my practicum. Personally, I am also the board adviser of the association which is established by leprosy affected community to straggle for their right called Addis Ababa Leprosy Victims Rehabilitation Association (ALVRA).
Where I want to be at the end of the practicum
At the end of my practicum, I contributed towards the creation of community members where
the well-being of leprosy affected people and their families are secured; some forms discrimination against leprosy affected people and their family is minimized.
How I propose to get from where I am to where I want to be;
- Enhanced the community awareness by training
- Strengthened the capacity of social institution (Iddirs, female working groups).
- Increased the female work group income.
- Linked the community to micro finance institution (Saving and credit cooperatives)