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Lydia Trading

Lydia Trading is the exporting arm of the Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT), a nonprofit organization in Nepal. NLT works with people affected by leprosy or disadvantaged in other ways, through a range of income-generating, social welfare and medical projects. Currently, NLT runs three self-financing industries producing leather goods, batiks and cloth products. Lydia Traders exports the products and uses the profits to support people affected by leprosy and women in need. Due to consistent orders Lydia Traders has been able to introduce improved medical benefits, working conditions and educational sponsorship to families affected by leprosy and other marginali zed people.The Nepal Leprosy Trust was established in 1972. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Lydia Trading since 1986.

  • Overcoming Stigma

    Working with Lydia Trading in Kathmandu, Nepal, artisan Basu Dev Dahal has been able to overcome the stigma of leprosy. “I have found new life through this work,” he says.

    Dahal came to Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT) from Khokana Leprosy Colony in Kathmandu in 1979. NLT is the parent organization of Lydia Trading, its fair trade arm. When Dahal first developed leprosy, he was ostracized and couldn't live in his family or his community, due to the stigma of the disease. While receiving treatment at The Leprosy Mission's hospital in Kathmandu, he learned about Lydia Trading and its work with those who have leprosy.

    After being cured of leprosy, Dahal joined the leather goods workshop of Lydia Trading. Despite his deformed fingers, he is able to mark leather to exacting specifications as part of the process of creating purses and other leather products.

    Dahal is now 56, and has his own house in Kathmandu, built for him by Nepal Leprosy Trust in 1998. He is happily living with his wife, three sons and one grandson. His eldest son works as a driver, the middle son is working in the Middle East and the youngest is in high school.

    Dahal is now the supervisor of the leather goods workshop of Lydia Trading. He is an advisor in his local community and a leader in his church. He is grateful to be involved with an organization like Nepal Leprosy Trust, which he says has helped him to regain dignity and self-reliance.