The Damien Foundation in a nutshell.
The Damien Foundation is a Belgian, national, pluralist and apolitical NGO. Established in 1964, on the heels of the "World Leprosy Days" started by Raoul Follereau ("the lepers' lawyer"), the Damien Foundation draws daily inspiration from the work of two other key figures: Dr. Frans Hemerijckx ("the lepers' doctor" to whom we owe "clinics under the trees", which means the hospital goes to the patient and not the other way around) and, of course, Father Damien ("the lepers' apostle"), who modelled values to apply every day, both in Belgium and abroad.
The mission of the Damien Foundation is threefold:
- to fight against poverty-related diseases (leprosy, tuberculosis and Leishmaniasis),
- to raise the Belgian people's awareness of the issue
- to create a network of volunteers.
TOriginally, the Damien Foundation was established to fight leprosy. However, with dwindling needs in this field and increasing financial support, the Foundation soon extended its scope of action to include the fight against tuberculosis, the disease it fights the most today (it fights tuberculosis, on its own or combined with another disease, in each of its projects). However, the Damien Foundation will never stop its fight against leprosy and is focusing more on this disease again. The Damien Foundation also fights a third disease, Leishmaniasis, in Nicaragua and in Guatemala.
There are four key elements to the Damien Foundation's current work in 13 countries in Africa, Asia and Central America : it only works at the request of local governments, on long-term projects, in cooperation with partners like the WHO, ILEP (International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations) and the UIATLD (International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease) and almost exclusively with local personnel (over 1,200 people).
Basic Projects too
The Damien Foundation works mainly through national leprosy, tuberculosis and Leishmaniasis programmes, some of which it has helped to establish. These programmes are the best way to give a maximum number of people access to health care and they are the Damien Foundation's priority. But they obviously cannot meet the needs of all patients or former patients.
This is why, since 2007, the Damien Foundation has been running "basic projects".
These small-scale projects target limited populations in a set period of time. These projects are mainly socio-economic by nature, but they can be medical too.
A solid basis in Belgium
To live up to its "non-governmental" status, the Damien Foundation relies on two solid bases in Belgium: enthusiastic contributors and faithful donors. Together, they cover over half of the Foundation's needs. And they allow the Foundation to remain independent, no matter what happens.
Dr. Sushil Koirala
Dr. Pramod Raj Bhattarai
TB Medical Officer
Mr. Shalikram Rizal
Admin and Finance Officer
Mr. Tara Datta Pant
TB Leprosy Supervisior
Mr. Ganesh Singh Shah
Mrs. Laxmi Koirala
Office Support Staff