Bringing Healing to the Forsaken
Many don’t realize the scourge of leprosy still exists in parts of our world. For victims, it’s an insidious disease that ravages the body and tortures the soul.
Victims are not only devastated by the onslaught of the illness. They also suffer the emotional and physical toll of rejection from any and all part of society.
Leprosy is generally found among highly impoverished communities where victims lack access to proper sanitation and healthcare. Because they’re relentlessly chased away from contact with anyone, they can’t get the help they desperately need.
Lepers become homeless, destitute, and eventually starve. Without treatment, their disease progresses until they grow too weak or disabled to help themselves. They slowly die from exposure, starvation, illness, or attacks by wild animals.
- The number of cases globally reported to the World Health Organization in 2021 was over 133,000.
- An estimated 2 to 3 million people are living with leprosy-related disabilities worldwide.
- The good news is the disease is curable with antibiotics.
- Within six weeks of steady antibiotic treatment, a victim is no longer contagious.
- After one year of uninterrupted treatment, a patient can be cured.
The good news is that leprosy is curable. It’s possible to completely eradicate leprosy. No one in today’s world today needs to suffer the horrific effects of this disease. With your help, we’re beginning to release one community from its grasp.
Lepers in Malo, South Sudan, were discovered a few years ago in dire condition. Hundreds of people – many families – were homeless, starving, ill, with tattered clothing or none at all. They were lying under trees waiting to die. Forced out helplessly into the desert, some were killed by hyenas.
Our supporters came together to provide emergency food relief, medicine, clothing, and shelter. Sudan Relief Fund drilled a borehole for clean water, and established an area where families could live as a community.
Together we’re helping them start agricultural projects to create a self-sufficient food source. For many of these sufferers, it’s difficult to work due to the loss of limbs. Some cannot walk. Because of their unique challenges, we’re working with the colony in various ways to teach skills each one is capable of performing, so they have a means to support themselves.
Many victims have learned to live their lives with the scars of leprosy – without fingers and toes, without limbs, some unable to walk – it’s astonishing what they’re learning to accomplish in untraditional ways. But our hope is to stop this disease in its tracks, so no more suffering is incurred – suffering that’s preventable if we just give them the help they need.
Recently, Sudan Relief Fund constructed a health clinic in the center of the colony. Ongoing medical treatment is absolutely vital to contain and conquer leprosy.
One obstacle for many sufferers is the need for continuous antibiotic treatment to stop progression of the leprosy and become fully cured. If they stop the protocol for any reason, the disease will resurface. Within six weeks of proper treatment, a leper is no longer contagious. Uninterrupted treatments must take place for an entire year to completely defeat the disease.
This requires trained medical personnel and medicine – a plentiful, ongoing supply of medicine. Enough to treat hundreds of people.
Tarkush is a small boy in the leper community whose father died, and whose mother was so stricken from the illness she couldn’t take care of him. Tarkush had effects of the disease on his face, and difficulty moving one arm and one leg. Without being discovered and cared for by Sudan Relief Fund partners, Tarkush would have slowly perished.
Today Tarkush is receiving steady treatment. He laughs and smiles a lot. He’s full of enthusiasm and is a very bright child. Recently Tarkush was well enough for his first day of school. As he proudly put on his backpack, he was beaming.
His mother had fallen into a deep depression because of her circumstances – the loss of her husband, the inability to care for her child, the hopeless and dreadful days she anticipated for her and her son. As a result, she never spoke.
Sudan Relief Fund was able to provide new living accommodations for Tarkush’s mother, and she’s responding well to treatment for the leprosy. Now she smiles and is even speaking again – it’s the first time partners have ever heard her say a word. She’s overjoyed at how well her little boy is doing. She never believed she would see these things happen.
The story of Tarkush and his mother is just a snapshot of what’s being done in one family, in one household at the leper colony of Malo. There are hundreds of people in this community who need help to overcome this curable disease. That help was always out of their reach – until now.
Will you help us continue the good work that’s begun in the leper colony of Malo? Women without fingers are learning to sew. Children destined to die are now spared from ever contracting this ghastly disease. The cycle of sickness and death will be stopped.
Please help us provide ongoing medicines for the clinic that are crucial to complete their path to wellness – a path that’s fully achievable with your partnership.
Because of you, these people dare to hope once again that their lives can be saved. They dare to dream their children can grow up healthy. Because of you, hope is returning to the leper colony of Malo. Will you help us make that hope a reality?
Sincerely,Neil A. Corkery President
PS – Leprosy is curable. Please help us send absolutely vital medicine to the health clinic in the Malo leper colony. Your gifts are transforming the lives of an entire community that was left to die. Thank you for your generous partnership to make this happen.
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