Here’s the second part of Georgia Regan’s reflections on her trip to India to see TLM’s work.
India, to someone who has not been to see this country with their own eyes or listened to a friend who has visited is just a large landscape covered with nothing but trees, rags and cardboard or other things lying around making people’s houses. But India is more than just that. It is also a country full of bustling cities and manic roads. There is a beauty in amongst all of the madness, something that pulls you in – maybe it’s just that it is different. India is like no other country in the world but people never usually fully appreciate that until they have seen the place for themselves.
Between the beauty and madness though, there are cracks, problems and diseases – diseases like leprosy. Leprosy is a disease caused by bacteria, in India 1 person every 4 minutes is diagnosed with it . You can tell you have Leprosy when you first see some patches on your skin and start to lose sensation, if not treated your bones can reabsorb.
People with Leprosy are pushed out of their families for fear that they might catch the disease. That is why The Leprosy Mission (TLM) is trying to help. They are trying to find these people and convince them to have the treatment they need (multi-drug therapy ) before their leprosy gets any worse.
Not only that but they are visiting villages to explain to them and show them that the people with Leprosy are no danger to them or any of their family, that they are normal people just like them.
Near to their hospital for leprosy, TLM has opened a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) for people affected by leprosy, it is a place for children who are affected or who have parents affected by leprosy to stay and study to try and get a qualification. Beside the VTC there is a place called a Snehalaya where the older people affected by Leprosy stay if their families have rejected them. Many of them work in the fields harvesting crops while others who cannot, stay inside.
So India is not perfect but neither is any other country. There are ups and downs but anyone can see that India is trying to change. People affected by leprosy will one day be treated like any other person and no-one will be rejected.