Jaya Reddy has been working with leprosy patients for over 20 years. Here’s the story of the brave and caring woman from Delhi’s Anand Parbat colony
A total of 52 households dwell in Delhi’s Anand Parbat region, which is home to around 30 people with leprosy. Society treats these families as outsiders, and any contact with them is frowned upon – all because they are leprosy patients.
It is difficult to comprehend that this widespread isolation of leprosy sufferers by society remains in twenty-first-century India. However, Jaya Reddy is a true guardian angel for all of these families.
Jaya has an innate ability to comprehend and connect with their plight, having been raised by parents who have leprosy.
A woman from Anand Parbat, Anita, says, “Jaya didi provides us rations and food on all such occasions. Jaya didi even provides the literature that my children require for school. “
Jaya’s father served the community selflessly till his death a few years ago. Jaya recalls her youth, saying, “I went through a lot of sorrow growing up. People would always stare at me as though I were strange. Even when my parents required assistance healing their wounds, hospitals and clinics turned them away.” This taught Jaya the importance of perseverance.
Jaya claims that when her instructors found out her parents were affected by leprosy, they treated her differently. However, she claims that things are much better now. There is a lot more understanding now.
Jaya devotes her entire day to serving the inhabitants of her colony. Jaya needs to take on this responsibility because of how the community is frequently handled.
She states, “Going to a government agency and waiting in line would never enable them to complete their work. They were frequently pushed from one workstation to another. Their physical state frequently prevents them from standing for such long periods of time. They have a miserable life. “
Jaya, who completed her education until Class 10, says her primary source of income before COVID-19 was her work as a caretaker for patients in their homes.
“But, the money that my son earns by working for a company is what allows us to operate the household.”
Furthermore, removing the stigma associated with leprosy has been a difficult undertaking.
“Very often, one has to lie about where they are coming from,” she explains.
When individuals learn that they are from a leprosy colony, they are denied employment. While a few organisations are striving to rehabilitate leprosy sufferers, there is still a long way to go.
Deepak Kapur, who serves as Head of Rotary Club Alliance for Leprosy Control, says, “Jaya is a lone fighter who has worked relentlessly with leprosy sufferers for over two decades.”