Helping people who have no voice to speak up for their rights is a powerful tool.Most people in leprosy communities don’t know that they are entitled to government benefits (e.g. a disability pension), and certainly don’t know how to apply for them.Brighter Future works with a fantastic Pastor called Elisha. He is disabled by leprosy himself and understands all the effects of the disease. Elisha has been working in five leprosy colonies and has helped residents to get electricity, roads, disability pensions, bus passes, food ration cards for rice and many other benefits.Elisha is a force to be reckoned with and visits the local government offices with people affected by leprosy to ask for benefits. The majority of the people he is helping are illiterate and therefore have no confidence to do this by themselves. One by one, Elisha is empowering communities to start standing up for their rights. The fantastic thing is that this means Brighter Future no longer has to pay for things that the government should be funding.There are a further 59 leprosy colonies across 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh, which are home to around 32,000 people affected by the disease. The residents desperately need medical care, protective footwear, improved housing and sanitation, education for children and many other things that we take for granted here in the UK. At present, no organisation is helping these people. Brighter Future is in the process of building a platform which enables people with leprosy to have a voice and a means to access local government, as well as raise awareness in the community to generate support. We’re bringing the 13 districts together to develop a State recognised association for leprosy-affected people. The association will be a bridge between people with leprosy, local government, community organisations and political figures.