News Story

Leprosy Victims Find Relief and Care from Church Sponsored Workshop

Scientists say that leprosy came to India some 2000 years BC and has plagued the country with its presence ever since. In ancient Indian society those with leprosy’s disfiguring effects were isolated, shunned and marked as unclean. Today, as leprosy is better understood many world class organizations are eager to assist the victims of this devastating age old disease.

Such is the case with members of The Indian Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the Chennai, India District. Women of the Church’s Relief Society organization assembled over one hundred “Self Care Kits” to be donated to the leprosy patients of the Shanthi Rehabilitation Center serving the villages in Thalambedu, Chittoor District. Countless volunteer hours were spent in gathering the approximately one thousand items that would allow the recipients to provide basic levels of self-care for their wounds. Therapeutic devises were also donated including Micro Cellular Rubber Footwear, Sight Protecting Glasses, Finger Splints, Spring Leg Splints and Special Hand Grips. Boxed in individual water tight containers, these kits were distributed to individuals and families who gathered at a special ceremony.

As the recipients received their kits they were organized into classes where they and their families were taught how to self-clean and dress wounds, relieve and treat body sores, and maintain overall good hygiene. These donated supplies, along with good self-help practices, as taught at this event, will relieve much pain and suffering and allow those afflicted with leprosy to enjoy a better way of life.

One elderly man, bent from years of this disease, expressed his gratitude because now he didn’t have to walk on a rocky forest path with sore and bandaged feet to have his dressings changed. All that attended, each in their own way, felt that same deep level of appreciation.

India has approximately 55% of the world’s leprosy cases with over 127,000 new cases each year.  Haunted by the unbearable suffering that leprosy causes among the rural poor of India, John Paul started the Shanthi Rehabilitation Center in April of 2013. Managing the program with only his wife, daughter and several volunteers he depends solely on the generous donations of organizations like the LDS Church. Elder and Sister Smith, volunteers of the Church from Canada expressed that, “it is the Christ-like characteristic of love for our fellow man that drives members to perform such service to others”. The Shanthi Rehabilitation Center is just one of the many projects of love that the Church has performed for the poor and less fortunate in India.

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