Legacies of Leprosy


Descendants of leprosy patients return to Sungai Buloh in search of their roots and relatives. For some the reunions are joyful, while for others the sands of time have run out...

I first became interested in the Sungai Buloh leprosarium when I produced a documentary in 2007 about the people living there. Established in 1930, it used to be one of the biggest leprosariums in the world. It is now known as the National Leprosy Control Centre.

Today, Sungai Buloh, just outside Kuala Lumpur, is an ageing community of people affected by leprosy. For many years, leprosy patients were a marginalised group, and society’s ignorance and prejudices caused them much suffering and pain. What was more, under the cruel Leprosy Act, they have had to endure the pain of forced isolation and the trauma of separation from their children.

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