South Asia contains about 50% of the world’s leprosy cases, making it the region’s single most prevalent and commonly untreated bacterial infection.
One of the oldest diseases known to mankind, leprosy is extremely painful for those who’ve contracted it and often leads to crippling, lifelong deformities. Unfortunately, because of the visibility of this disease, people suffering from leprosy are frequently ostracized in their communities and pushed to the margins of society. Many patients lose friends and family and, as this disease disproportionately impacts impoverished people groups, many are left to live in squalor after being denied jobs and equal rights to services.
For the brave leprosy patients already coping with this unfair treatment, the descent of COVID-19 into South Asia only served to exacerbate their already difficult life situations.
Once lockdown began, the few patients who had regular work lost their jobs instantly and, without that income, were plunged into even deeper poverty.
Using Global Hunger Relief funds, local Baptists were able to demonstrate Christ’s care and compassion to this distressed community by purchasing and distributing much-needed food rations. Catering to the dietary needs of those with leprosy, these volunteers dispersed meals to nearly 500 people!
The Leper community who received the rations were so used to being ignored—and had been feeling even more lonely and rejected than usual in the pandemic—that they were hungry for fellowship and happily talked for hours with the volunteers delivering their gifts.
One patient, Muniyakka, received her package with many tears and a sigh of relief, exclaiming, “Thank you, Jesus!” Another recipient, Lakshmakka, said, “Our family was starving and entirely without food when the rations arrived. This will enable us to sustain our lives and all the children in the community—thank you!”
Pray that government rations and help from churches will regularly be offered to this vulnerable community and pray that many would know the all-encompassing love of Christ as a result.
Global Hunger Relief funds many projects just like this, focusing on the world’s most overlooked and downtrodden communities. Your gifts help these families know they are seen and valued in the eyes of God!
Published April 30, 2021