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【Photo Diary】 Visit to India - 4 [2020年02月21日(Fri)]
I would like to share with you some of the photographs taken during my visit to India from January 28 to February 5, 2020.

[February 2, Ahmedabad, Gujarat state]

 1.jpg
Visiting the Mahatma Gandhi Kusta Seva Ashram leprosy colony.


 2.jpg
There was a wonderful turnout for my visit.

 3.jpg
This lady welcomed me with a necklace.

 4.jpg
Children treated me to a dance performance.

5.jpg
Addressing colony residents.

 6.jpg
With young ladies who live in the colony.


 7.jpg
Meeting and talking with representatives of leprosy-affected communities in Gujarat state.


(To be continued)


Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 12:27 | PHOTO DIARY | URL | comment(0)
【Photo Diary】 Visit to India - 3 [2020年02月18日(Tue)]

I would like to share with you some of the photographs taken during my visit to India from January 28 to February 5, 2020.


[January 31, From New Delhi to Ahmedabad, Gujarat state]

20200218_1.jpgBeing greeted at Ahmedabad Airport, Gujarat state, after arriving from New Delhi.




20200218_2.jpg
Being briefed on Gujarat state’s anti-leprosy campaign by Dr. Girish Thakar (left) of the Health and Family Welfare Department.




【February 1, Ahmedabad, Gujarat state]

20200218_3.jpgA neatly paved road leads into the city of Ahmedabad.




20200218_4.jpgCows can be seen everywhere, with drivers careful to avoid them.


20200218_5.jpgOffering words of encouragement to ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) at the Sanand Taluka public health center.



20200218_6.jpgASHAs are female community health workers who have been trained to recognize symptoms of leprosy.


 20200218_7.jpg
Taking a commemorative photo with ASHAs at the Sanathan public health center.



20200218_8.jpgVisiting the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya museum at the Sabarmati Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi once lived, located in the suburb of Ahmedabad.



20200218_9.jpg
Posing with representatives from APAL, WHO, S-ILF and the state of Gujarat.


(To be continued)

Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 11:39 | PHOTO DIARY | URL | comment(0)
【Photo Diary】 Visit to India - 2 [2020年02月17日(Mon)]
I would like to share with you some of the photographs taken during my visit to India from January 28 to February 5, 2020.

[January 30, New Delhi]

20200217-1.jpg
Meeting with Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot (right), Minister of Social Justice and
Empowerment.


20200217-2.jpgMeeting with Mr. Krishnaswamy Natarajan (right), Director General of the Indian Coast Guard.

 
20200217-3.jpg
Addressing an event to observe Anti-Leprosy Day.


20200217-4.jpg
Many young residents of leprosy colonies attend the Anti-Leprosy Day
event.


20200217-5.jpg
The Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) “to drive industry action to end leprosy in India and fight the stigma attached to it.”



20200217-6.jpgMeeting with executive directors of the Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF).

20200217-7.jpg
Meeting with Dr. S. Jaishankar (right), Minister of External Affairs.

 20200217-8.jpg
Participating in an event to mark the launch in India of my English-language book on my pursuit of a world without leprosy−No Matter Where the Journey Takes Me: One Man's Quest for a Leprosy-free World.


20200217-9.jpgChildren of a leprosy colony sing at the book launch event.


20200217-10.jpg
I was extremely grateful to all those who made the event happen.


(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 16:04 | PHOTO DIARY | URL | comment(0)
【Photo Diary】 Visit to India - 1 [2020年02月14日(Fri)]
I would like to share with you some of the photographs taken during my visit to India from January 28 to February 5, 2020.


[January 29, New Delhi] 
20200214-1.jpg
I had breakfast with Dr. Lutz Hegemann, Chief Operating Officer of Novartis AG, a global healthcare company based in Switzerland. Since 2000, Novartis took over from The Nippon Foundation the role of ensuring free distribution of MDT (multidrug therapy), which has gone a long way to dramatically reducing the number of leprosy cases globally.



20200214-2.jpg
Meeting with Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan (left), who took time out of his busy schedule, coping with the coronavirus outbreak in China.


20200214-3.jpgThe Indian Health and Family Welfare Ministry compound is full of monkeys!

20200214-4.jpg
Are they there to pick up medicine?

20200214-5.jpg 
What nice-looking monkeys they are!

20200214-6.jpgPosing on a bike used for events by Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) to promote an end to leprosy and the discrimination it causes. But it is a bit too small for me.


20200214-7.jpg
With young people who took part in an event organized by S-ILF.


(To be continued) 
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 17:24 | PHOTO DIARY | URL | comment(0)
Let’s Do Our Best to Ensure No More Leprosy, Associated Stigma in India by 2030 (2) [2020年02月13日(Thu)]
During my stay in India, I was interviewed by various media, including the Times of India, PTI, IANS, the Statesman, New Ripples and VANDE (Video Audio Network for Development and Education) Gujarat.

I told them that while India's measures against leprosy were “the most advanced in the world,” the country has a huge population and I recognized that its efforts to reach some population groups are probably not yet sufficient.

In particular, I appealed for a leprosy eradication program to be included in the country's school curriculum to increase awareness about the disease.

While the rest of the world observes World Leprosy Day on the last Sunday in January, which fell on January 27 this year, India observes its Anti-Leprosy Day on January 30, the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi.

According to WHO, India has the highest annual number of new cases of leprosy in the world, accounting for about 60% of 210,000 new cases registered globally in 2017.

Leprosy was for a long time treated as a special disease with diagnosis and treatment taking place at specialized hospitals and this contributed to discrimination.

In my media interviews I said that WHO has worked to reform this so that leprosy is integrated with other diseases and can be diagnosed and treated at general hospitals. From what I have seen during my travels around India, this is now happening and I look forward to seeing more integration.

On January 31, I flew from Delhi to Ahmedabad in the western coastal state of Gujarat. During my five-day stay in the city, I met with senior state government officials and representatives of the Association of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL) and others to get briefed on the state’s fight against leprosy and the stigma and discrimination it causes.

I also visited the Gandhi Kusta Seva Ashram leprosy colony, where I spoke with leaders of the community about their lives and was treated to a dance performance by their children.

Furthermore. I visited Sanand Taluka and Sanathan public health centers in the city, where I talked with and encouraged ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists). These are female community health workers who have been trained to recognize symptoms of leprosy. They hold the key to early diagnosis of the disease, which helps prevent disability and ensure a complete cure.


20200213-1.jpg
Offering words of encouragement to ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) at the Sanand Taluka public health center in Ahmedabad, Gujarat State on February 1.

20200213-2.jpg
With young residents of Mahatma Gandhi Kusta Seva Ashram leprosy colony in Ahmedabad on February 2.

20200213-3.jpg
Interviewed on the state government channel VANDE (Video Audio Network for Development and Education) Gujarat in Ahmedabad on February 3.
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 16:20 | LEPROSY | URL | comment(0)
Let’s Do Our Best to Ensure No More Leprosy, Associated Stigma in India by 2030 (1) [2020年02月12日(Wed)]
​​I took a nine-day trip to India from late January to early February to observe Anti-Leprosy Day on January 30, to meet with top government officials and make a visit to Gujarat state in my capacity as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination. 

Anti-Leprosy Day commemorates Mahatma Gandhi’s care and compassion for persons affected by leprosy and is a day to promote activities against the disease while advocating inclusion and rejecting discrimination.

Speaking at an event in New Delhi, I noted that “under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government of India is working hard on the ambitious goal of making India free of leprosy, and the stigma and discrimination associated with it, by 2030.”

I was particularly honored to be back in India, where I received the Gandhi Peace Prize in February last year for my contribution to the fight to eliminate leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, and its associated stigma from India and the world.

The ceremony was joined by Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan, Mr. Tarun Das, Chairman of the Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF), and Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

I expressed my appreciation for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that S-ILF and the CII signed “to drive industry action to end leprosy in India and fight the stigma attached to it.”

I believe this partnership is truly encouraging as the CII, founded in 1895 and celebrating 125 years in 2020, is India's premier business association with more than 9,100 members as well as over 300,000 indirect member enterprises from 291 national and regional sectoral industry bodies.

“I hope that the CII and S-ILF will work together to educate Indian companies about leprosy, and that this will further expand employment opportunities for persons affected by the disease,” I said.

S-ILF was founded in 2006 to help integrate persons affected by leprosy into mainstream society and end the stigma against the disease. It creates opportunities to earn a living, provides educational support and works to spread correct knowledge about leprosy.

In concluding my remarks, I noted that Mahatma Gandhi once said that he didn’t want to be invited to open a leprosy hospital, but to close one when it was no longer necessary. “With those words in mind,” I said, “let us all do our best to ensure that by 2030 there will be no more leprosy, and no more discrimination against leprosy, in India.”

Health and Family Welfare Minister Vardhan, who also attended the event, welcomed the MoU, saying: “Today, the CII officially join the movement to uplift the leprosy affected community.”

He went on to say, “I have already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the abolishment of more than 100 discriminatory laws and I assure the patients and the foundation that these laws will be completely eradicated in the very near future."

I see this as a highly significant step by the Indian government to tackle the stigma and discrimination against those affected by leprosy.


My speech at India’s Anti-Leprosy Day ceremony can be seen here:

https://www.nippon-foundation.or.jp/en/who/message/speeches/2020/40433.html


20200212_1.jpg
Addressing a ceremony to observe India’s Anti-Leprosy Day on January
30 in New Delhi.

20200212_2.jpg
The Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) “to drive industry action to end leprosy in India and fight the stigma attached to it.”

20200212_3.jpg
Many young residents of leprosy colonies attend the Anti-Leprosy Day
ceremony.







 (To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 15:36 | LEPROSY | URL | comment(0)
HEROs AWARD 2019 Given to Japan Inclusive Football Federation [2020年02月07日(Fri)]
The Nippon Foundation has conferred the third HEROs AWARD on the Japan Inclusive Football Federation (JIFF) in recognition of its activities to aim for an inclusive society through promoting soccer for players with disabilities.

At a ceremony held at a Tokyo hotel late last year, I presented the award to JIFF President Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, a former Japan national soccer team member, in the presence of about 130 current and former athletes, among them Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita, a judo gold medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and now president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC).

Mr. Kitazawa said the award gave players with disabilities, some of whom were present at the ceremony, a strong motivation to play soccer. With the Olympic and Paralympic games to be held in Tokyo this summer, he said: “The year of 2020 will provide a great opportunity to create a happy society through sports.” JIFF supports seven associations of soccer players with disabilities, aiming for an inclusive society.

The annual HEROs AWARD recognizes both current and former athletes and their organizations for accelerating efforts to solve various social problems through promoting sports.

The HEROs initiative, launched in October 2017, is a social innovation project that seeks to use the expertise, experience, and human resource networks developed by The Nippon Foundation through its social contribution activities to harness the power of sports in order to give children hopes and dreams for the future and create a better society for the next generation.


HEROs2.jpgPresenting the HEROs AWARD 2019 trophy to former Japan national soccer team member Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, president of the Japan Inclusive Football Federation (JIFF), in a ceremony at a Tokyo hotel on December 9, 2019.


HEROs1.jpg
Posing with about 130 current or former athletes who participated in the ceremony. The men wore black-tie formal wear, while the women were clad in long dresses or traditional kimono.

Global Appeal 2020 Calls on the World to End Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy (2) [2020年02月05日(Wed)]
I was truly honored by the presence of Prime Minister Abe, who took pains to attend the event after hours of heated deliberations in the Diet (Parliament) earlier in the day. Reflecting on the nation’s past segregation policy, he told participants that the government has offered apologies and assistance to persons affected by Hansen’s disease−as leprosy is known in Japan−and their families, and implemented measures to recover their honor and help them re-integrate into society.  

“I have a high hope that the message of this gathering towards an inclusive society will reach the entire world,” Mr. Abe said, expressing his wish that the event will provide “an opportunity for people around the world to develop a correct understanding of Hansen’s disease, and greatly eradicate prejudice and discrimination related to the disease in our thoughts and actions.”

Global Appeal 2020 was read out by Ms. Miki Matheson, a gold medalist at 1998 Nagano Paralympic Winter Games and now Project Manager at The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, and Mr. Yukinobu Ike, the captain of the Japanese Wheelchair Rugby Team.

Toward the end of the ceremony, I was truly moved by a special collaborative musical performance by two talented artists, the blind singer-songwriter Mr. Koshi Kishita, who is known as the Stevie Wonder of Japan, and Ms. Manami Ito, a Paralympian, nurse and violinist, who played using a specially-made prosthetic arm.  

Prior to the ceremony, the Sasakawa Health Foundation, The Nippon Foundation’s partner group, organized a roundtable discussion on the theme “Difference Is Natural,” as part of the events related to Global Appeal 2020.

Beginning in 2006, The Nippon Foundation has issued an annual Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy, joined each year by influential individuals and organizations on or near World Leprosy Day, which falls on the last Sunday of every January.

Its message is threefold: leprosy is curable, free treatment is available around the world, and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy has no place. Over the years, this message has been endorsed by political, business, academic and religious leaders around the world, among others.

I sincerely hope that the participants in the ceremony, including persons with disabilities and those affected by leprosy, as well as people around the world, will act together in aiming for an inclusive society and an end to stigma and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy.

       
6.JPG
Global Appeal 2020 was read out by Ms. Miki Matheson (center right), Project Manager at The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, and Mr. Yukinobu Ike (center left), the captain of the Japanese Wheelchair Rugby Team.


7.JPG
Mr. Koshi Kishita (left), the blind singer-songwriter who is known as the Stevie Wonder of Japan, singing “Amazing Grace,” accompanied by Mr. Ichiro Hashimoto, a sign language performer.



8.JPGMs. Manami Ito, a Paralympian, nurse and violinist, performs using a specially-made prosthetic right arm.   
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 09:00 | LEPROSY | URL | comment(0)
Global Appeal 2020 Calls on the World to End Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy (1) [2020年02月03日(Mon)]
I attended a ceremony held at a Tokyo hotel on January 27 in which The Nippon Foundation and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) jointly launched the 15th Global Appeal, asking people all over the world to “stand with persons affected by leprosy in calling for an end to stigma and discrimination” associated with the disease.

The annual ceremony brought together some 240 people, including persons affected by leprosy and their family members and those with disabilities, from Japan and overseas. It was also joined by such dignitaries as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato, Mr. Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister and now President of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Mr. Duane Kale, Vice President of the IPC.
 
Speaking as Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination and the Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of Persons Affected by Leprosy, I said in my opening remarks: “I am convinced that the performance of Paralympians at the Tokyo Games will impress people around the globe and send an important message that the world must become an inclusive society.”

“In this Paralympic Year of 2020, we have been given truly powerful support and a wonderful opportunity to act with the International Paralympic Committee” to fight any kind of stigma and discrimination and aim for a society in which everyone is respected.  

IPC Vice President Kale said: “This summer, I have no doubt that Tokyo 2020 will deliver a spectacular Paralympic Games,” which will be watched by cumulative television audience of around 4.25 billion people.

“Difference is a strength and diversity should be celebrated. Every person on this planet should be free to live their lives with dignity and enjoy all his or her fundamental human rights,” he noted, adding: “In this special year when the eyes of the world will be on Tokyo, we are delighted to partner with The Nippon Foundation in issuing this historical appeal from the host city, calling for ending stigma and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and supporting an inclusive society.”

Representing family members of leprosy patients was Mr. Chandra Prakash Kumar, who came from India to join the event. Based on his experience of being born and brought up in a leprosy colony, he stressed the importance of educating people, especially children, in order to remove stigma and discrimination against those affected by leprosy.

1グローバルアピール2020が開催されました.JPG

Global Appeal 2020 was launched jointly by The Nippon Foundation and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) at a ceremony held in Tokyo on January 27, 2020, which was joined by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front row, center) and Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato (front row, third from right).

2開会の挨拶.JPG
Making opening remarks at the ceremony.

5.JPG
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “I have a high hope that the message of this gathering towards an inclusive society will reach the entire world.”

4森喜朗元首相にもご挨拶いただく.JPG
Mr. Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister and now President of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


(To be continued)
Posted by Y.Sasakawa at 16:19 | LEPROSY | URL | comment(0)