Schieffelin Institute of Health Research and Leprosy Centre (SIHRLC) has been working for the marginalized for the past 65 years. The founders had intended that it would be a shelter for people affected by leprosy, who were then ostracized and were not treated with dignity. Leprosy was and still is a highly stigmatized disease.
Originally, the organisation served as a “sanatorium”. Later it became a research institute and still later a hospital and training center with a large leprosy control area, where follow-up and documentation of data regarding the person affected by leprosy was “par excellence”.
All the while SIHRLC had worked in close co-ordination with the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP). With the dismantling of the focused vertical structure for leprosy, SIHRLC has now begun to serve the needs of people with physical disabilities who are marginalized in various communities, while still focusing on people with leprosy.
This has taken us on a journey from health to inclusion and human dignity. This is reflected in our new five-year strategy where we have specified community development, rather than community health. We have also decided to work in partnership with people whom we previously considered our clients, addressing stigma and sustainable livelihoods and the environment. Our strong focus on research and training continues along with provision of health services.
We continue to be guided by our Christian values of love, compassion and hope in all our activities and our endeavors and plans for the future.
We would like to encourage you to partner with us in addressing the needs of people affected by leprosy and other stigmatizing physical disabilities.
– Jerry Joshua