As the daughter of leprosy-affected parents Mariama was considered tainted and 'dirty'.

Mariama was taken from her mother when she was only a year old. Before he died, her leprosy affected father had promised his sister, who had no children, he would give his youngest child to her so she had a child of her own to bring up. Tragically, Mariama was treated very badly by her aunt, being made to do all the household chores and was also beaten and abused. 

On a visit, her mother Habsou, saw the terrible state her daughter was in and Mariama was taken away from her aunt and returned home with her mother to Danja, Niger. Once back in the village Mariama was forced to marry, against her wishes, to a leprosy-affected man much older than her. She was only 15 years old. Mariama quickly became pregnant giving birth to a daughter.

Mariama didn’t go to school but when she was older she attended a The Leprosy Mission funded adult literacy class, learning to read and write. Mariama is hoping to attend the The Leprosy Mission sewing class in Danja so that she can earn a living for her family.

A gift of £400 pays for two leprosy-affected people like Mariama to undergo a year's tailoring training and the gift of a sewing machine each.

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