- The festival is a part of S-ILF’s program to raise awareness about leprosy as part of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, whose contribution to end leprosy is well known.
- Sasakawa – India Leprosy Foundation (SILF) organizes nationwide camps annually to raise awareness and sensitize youngsters about the fight against Leprosy and behavior change through a concerted campaign #YouAreNotAlone
- To date, more than 8 colleges and around 70 students have been trained under the program.
10th February 2020: Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) will be organizing ‘Youth Against Leprosy’, its Regional Youth Festival in Lucknow. The festival is aimed to raise awareness levels about leprosy amongst the younger generation thereby breaking the age-long stigma & discrimination associated with the disease.
S-ILF’s youth festival provides a platform for young people from non-leprosy backgrounds (students from different colleges/universities) to mingle and interact with youth from leprosy colonies.
In this Event, Honorable Health Minister Uttar Pradesh Jai Pratap Singh, Head Communications and Advocacy, Sasakawa- India Leprosy Foundation, Tehseen Zaidi, Senior Journalist Mr. Ratan Manilal and Mr. Atul Chandra were present as a chief guest.
Head Communications and Advocacy, Sasakawa- India Leprosy Foundation, Tehseen Zaidi said, “These interactions are aimed to bust myths and create social bridges among college youth regarding leprosy. Youth Festival helps to bridge the “us versus them” divide. The students are connected as a community through the campaign initiative named #YouAreNotAlone.
The participating youths are from leprosy background and have been enrolled and trained by S-ILF under its Education programs. These youngsters are actively involved in bringing mainstream Leprosy affected persons and their families by providing them a dignified life.
Addressing the gathering, Honorable Minister of Health & Family Welfare UP Govt. Dr. Jai Pratap Singh said “As govt. of India has pledged to eradicate leprosy in future. So, Youth has to come forward to support the cause of leprosy. The young era should always spread awareness about the cause. I am glad to witness the interest of youth here on this platform which will bring us together to end leprosy.”
The foundation is committed to sensitizing the youth so that they can spread the word and contribute towards the elimination of stigma leading to a more inclusive and empathetic society.