Prime Minister David Cameron would be proud of the people of Niger who personify the Big Society. Amidst fears of famine and a distinct lack of food, people affected by leprosy who cannot work are given monthly supplies of grain as the only option to survive aside from begging. This is prioritised to the smallest members of the family and stretched out to extended family and eventually the entire neighbourhood. Although folk might not have anything to eat next week, there is an inspiring attitude to ‘look after others today’.
In the Maradi region where we are staying there is an elected ‘leprosy chief’. It is Salouhou Moussa’s (pictured) role to lobby the Niger government on behalf of the hundreds of very disabled people living in the poorest conditions that certainly I’ve witnessed. He even travelled to Niger’s capital Niamey to meet with government officials to express the needs of these people who are unable to work for a living. In a country without a social welfare system it is a desperate situation and the welcome we get, from the people given food aid by The Leprosy Mission, is tremendous.
I only wish each and every one of our supporters could witness first hand the gratitude of these people for their generous support.
Charlotte Orson/Rosalyn Palmer