3 reasons this leprosy charity fights poverty
14 October 2019
Why do we focus our attention on lifting people out of poverty? It is because leprosy is a disease that preys upon the poorest in our communities; transforming people and communities gives us the power to defeat leprosy and bring fullness of life. Here’s three reasons we’re making a difference.
1. Unclean water and poor sanitation make leprosy more likely
People have weaker bodies and immune systems when they live in places with dirty water and poor sanitation. Leprosy is most common in these places and so across the world we are working to improve sanitation.
Take, for example, our teams in Nigeria and Niger, who have been working to provide clean, drinkable bore hole water. Thanks to support from TLM in England & Wales, our team in Niger have been able to provide clean water to the 40,000 people who use Danja Hospital each year. This kind of work is happening across the world and it’s absolutely crucial to defeating leprosy.
2. Educations are interrupted by leprosy
The link between leprosy and poverty goes both ways. Often leprosy happens in part because of poor conditions, but it can also cause them. A leprosy diagnosis can significantly interrupt a child’s education, as shame, stigma, and disability each play their part in causing them to stay away from school.
Across the world we are working to prevent poverty that is caused by leprosy by providing children with support in their education and to ensure that young adults and adults are given opportunities for vocational training.
In India, for example, we are training people affected by leprosy in mechanics, computers, and printing. In Mozambique we’ve been supporting projects that ensure girls stay in education and can access further training after school.
When we provide training and education we help to make people affected by leprosy more employable; we give them a chance to make a living. Through their livelihoods they are able to afford better homes and sanitation. Through education and training we are breaking the cycle of poverty that is perpetuating leprosy across the world.
3. We don't only want to defeat leprosy, we want to transform lives
As well as clean water and education, we also support work that ensures people affected by leprosy don’t go hungry, we ensure they have access to affordable and clean energy, we work for gender equality and decent work opportunities. We work to completely transform lives, not just defeat leprosy.
Leprosy is a thief, it steals health, dignity, belonging and hope. Over 145 years of experience in fighting leprosy has shown us this. We are a Christian organisation who has heard the call of Jesus; curing leprosy with Multi Drug Therapy and then leaving is not enough, we are called to bring total transformation.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Bringing people affected by leprosy fullness of life is the right thing to do, that is why we fight poverty.