Sounds of laughter

Reflections, as from our founder, Wellesley Bailey

As I looked into their eyes, Lord, I heard you call;
felt their sorrow heavy upon my heart;
saw their loneliness as they hoped for healing
and waited patiently for help.
By now, I knew faith’s obligation:
having begun with you,
I could not then refuse your guidance
when it came… and there they were,
an unexpected group, sharing the
sorrows of leprosy and simple joys of faith
on tiptoe waiting for a miracle. . . .

. . . Listen, as you read.
Sounds of laughter carry far
when night has lasted long and cold
and now the sun has risen at last
With healing in his wings.

Read the full version of Sounds of Laughter

© Written by Hugh McKee, former Regional Organiser for The Leprosy Mission

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Kevin’s in India!

 

Kevin Baugh, Programmes Funding Officer, is currently on his first Indian field visit to monitor The Leprosy Mission projects. He’s been thrown in at the deep end and in the first few days of his trip he has already visited The Leprosy Mission hospital in Kolkata, taken a seven hour train journey to see Bankura Vocational Training Centre, visited the home for elderly people affected by leprosy, seen The Leprosy Mission’s hospital in Purulia and then travelled all the way back to Kolkata for flight transfers to the next region where we work – exhausting stuff! He’s just finished visiting our partner projects at Brighter Future in Vizianagaram, from where he reports: ‘All well here – having amazing time – India is all total assault on all your senses & emotions. I have fallen in love with the Indian people! I have been blown away by Brighter Future – the staff are amazing too – in fact I have been saying that where ever I have been’

We wish Kevin all the best for the rest of his trip and hope he doesn’t wear that shirt back in the office !!

 

 

Working towards the Millennium Development Goals

The Leprosy Mission works to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger through self-help groups, which are provided with seed money and training.

This men’s self-help group near Naini, India, has been together for five years. The 10 members meet on the fifth of every month.

Three members are affected by leprosy and the others are classed as below the poverty line. The group has bought items to rent out, including a lamp, large containers for cooking and water containers, for people to use in special events, such as weddings or other functions.

Suryabans, a member affected by leprosy, says, ‘In a meeting, whoever needs money asks, we take accounting of the business, talk about how to increase our work and what to do to earn more money.’

The leader of the group, Jairam, says, ‘We used to charge 2% interest, but we decided that was too high, so we reduced it to 1% per month. I keep records of utensils rented – after the marriage season; I take the accounts to the group.’

Before the self-help group was established, the men went to money lenders who charged 5%. Now when they take a loan from the group they pay interest back to the group and into their own joint savings.

Kesawai, who took a loan for his daughter’s marriage, says, ‘If I had not been able to take the loan I would have had to ask from another person and pay 5% or 10% interest or I’d have had to sell my field.’

The men also have plans on how to increase their profits. Jairam says, ‘We want to have a type of cinema which could be used in marriage functions. If we have that business we’ll get 2,000 rupees per show; it will cost around one lakh rupees [100,000 Rs]. We need at least two years to save one lakh.’

Find out more about how The Leprosy Mission is working towards the MDGs.