The World Leprosy Day is marked annually on the last Sunday of every January, to raise awareness and end discrimination against those suffering from the disease.
QI Group staff Alex Chok recalls his experience volunteering at the Sungai Buloh Leprosarium in Selangor.
“I was a little scared as the images of the disease on the Internet were terrifying. But when I went there, I was surprised to see the people at the facility were ordinary looking, just like us,” he says.
Alex and other QI Group volunteers spent a day at the facility, interacting with the residents, serving them food and distributed essential hygiene products.
“I enjoyed talking with them, in fact some of the residents even joined us in the dancing activities later,” he says.
The facility opened in 1930 and was globally known as a key research centre for leprosy in the 20th century. Currently, there are about 70 residents who still live in the facility as some did not have any next-of-kin or were abandoned by their families.