Up in the forest on the hills of Lele in Central Nepal lies Anandaban Hospital. Anandaban is home to a small number of people affected by leprosy. Many of the hospital's residents look back at a long life of suffering, not only because of their infection with leprosy but also due to the social exclusion that still goes hand in hand with this disease. Reconstructive surgery and physiotherapy are aiming at alleviating the physical restrictions caused by leprosy. The inclusion within the community of residents and the preparations for a future independent life are small steps towards overcoming the psychological injuries, too. Although all traces of the disease will never be erased and despite their heavy fates, it is clear that it is the hospital's residents who are creating the "Anandaban" - Nepali for "Forest of Joy".
Anandaban Hospital is run by The Leprosy Mission Nepal. The Leprosy Mission Nepal and the hospital are taking a holistic approach to cure and care for the people affected by leprosy all over Nepal. Although leprosy is curable, it remains a major health issue particularly among the poor of South Asia. With a population of only 29 million Nepal is the country with the seventh highest total number of new leprosy cases diagnosed each year.