Every two minutes a person somewhere in the world is hit by leprosy and the need to create greater awareness of the disease and ways and means of prevention and cure are a part of the Leprosy Mission.
The Mission’s New Zealand branch has been involved in substantial field work in India through its counterpart in that country.
Mike Sheppard, Ethnic Communities Ambassador for Leprosy Mission New Zealand outlined the adverse effects of the disease.
“If left untreated, it can lead to significant deformities to the hands, feet and face. Patients often suffer from stigma and are excluded from their communities,” he said.
Trevor and Shirley Parkinson of the Tauranga based Bethany Christian Missions Charitable Trust recently returned from a visit to India.
They said that they had an opportunity to see the progress of the construction of the Leprosy Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai.
“We understand that construction works will be completed by April. The complex will have the facility for constructing an additional floor should the need arise later. The Mission’s Founder Colleen Redi recently celebrated her 75th Birthday as well as completion of 50 years of service to the ‘poorest of the poor’ in India,” they said.
Mike Sheppard, Ethnic Communities Ambassador at Leprosy Mission New Zealand Ethnic Communities Ambassador Mike Sheppard congratulated Suresh Dondage of Leprosy Mission India, who was recently honoured by the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.
He won the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
“Mr Dondage, who is Programme Manager for the Mission’s ‘Inclusive Holistic Development of Individuals and Disabilities in Kothara, Gujarat received the Award for being the role model in overcoming leprosy and associated disabilities,” he said.