Armando is a 59 year old family man living in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.

Armando has spent his life weaving and selling handmade cloth and hunting wild animals while raising his five children with his wife. He earned enough to enjoy a happy family life, send his children to school and eat a nutritious, balanced diet. 

His life changed tragically in 2010, when he lost his wife and three of their children to disease. Sometime after, his remaining two children married and moved into their own homes leaving Armando to himself.  Then, Armando received news about his own health; he was diagnosed with leprosy. Suffering under the weight of grief and news about his health, Armando found himself in a deep depression. 

Traditional beliefs about leprosy and social stigma often leave people affected by leprosy unable to work or participate in income generating activities. In addition, the rural population of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, where Armando lives, is prone to food insecurity due to low agricultural productivity. Unable to work due to stigma and ulcers and injuries to his hands and feet sustained by leprosy-related nerve damage, Armando was forced to rely on his daughter to look after and feed him.  

Thankfully his fortunes changed in November 2016 when he joined a project aimed at improving livelihoods and food security for vulnerable people, including those affected by leprosy. Now his life is being transformed. He has been empowered to earn an income for himself and has started to feel that his life matters once again. Through an apprenticeship in an agriculture group, he has started his own farm, using conservation techniques and now produces cassava, sesame, cowpea, pigeon pea and peanuts. Armando has also forged relationships with the local community that support his farm when he’s too ill to work.

Armando feels that the stigma around his disease is changing and that people are more welcoming of him. He even participates in a local savings group where he can borrow money to meet his needs. He said, “I have learnt that every day is important. Now I can’t fall into depression, when I know that I can change my life.”

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