Leprosy in India; Don’t Discriminate – Educate!
I chose to run a public photography & developmental educational exhibition in a popular Galway Café. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and although I had attempted to share my learning and experiences verbally but found that nothing makes information more memorable, or catches attention quite like a visual display.
Each image in the exhibition was accompanied by a statistic, fact or personal caption related to the images content. The aim was to raise awareness around the facts about Leprosy, the real statistics and current situation in India (as part of No.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals). After spending time in India I understood that education was the only way to break down societies misunderstandings about the disease and break social prejudice that has been created over years of unaddressed information and fear of illness. Upon my return from India, I realised that the same lack of understanding and prejudice was present here at home. I experienced friends and family members move a foot away from me upon learning that I had worked closely with leprosy patients. The patients I had been working with were receiving the cure and were not contagious, and even if they had been, my immune system could easily flight the bacteria. The contagious nature of leprosy is one of the many common misconceptions. These experiences taught me first-hand the bias and fear was present still not just in India but in Europe. Many of the same people said ‘I thought leprosy was long gone, centuries ago’. It was then that I knew I wanted to make sure the education required for progress was also being shared not just in counties where the disease was present, but also here at home. I wanted to replace myth and misinformation with facts, statistics and real human experiences. I wanted to raise awareness and encourage action and knowledge sharing.
Café Temple is a heaven for free and progressive thinkers. They encourage healthy lifestyles, caring for the planet and each other, and promote the global goals. They were delighted to host the gallery and help me to educate any and all who expressed an interest.
The venue is also a tourist hot-spot. With an estimated 1.5 million overseas visitors to Galway each year, I am hopeful that this location will help educate and spread the true facts far and wide. This is my 1st step towards changing the myths and prejudice surrounding leprosy.
Name: Kate Griffin
Award: Silver Award
Location Action project: Cafe Temple, Galway