“I felt desperately sad for little Akifah and her family”

When our Head of Mission Development, Zoe Bunter visited a leprosy hospital in Nigeria last year, she wasn’t prepared for the profound emotional effect the experience would have on her.

This little girl – just 10 years old – was being treated for leprosy.

I was in Nigeria and it was a scorching hot day. I was grateful for the shade as the nurse and I entered the hospital building. We began walking through the men’s ward and then into the women’s, but I was surprised to see a little girl sitting on one of the beds.

At first I thought she was with her mother, the patient, but then I realised I was wrong. It was the other way around. This little girl – just 10 years old – was being treated for leprosy. As I went back to my room that night I felt desperately sad for little Akifah and her family.

It is so desperately unfair and unjust!

After the pain of sadness, sitting there in my room, came anger. Why is this horrific disease still attacking innocent children? Why, when their young lives are already so hard, are they the victims? It is so desperately unfair and unjust!

As I watched Akifah in the ward, I started to think of my own daughter, Molly. She used to love to dress up in her sparkly dressing-up clothes, dancing with abandon in front of the TV when Strictly Come Dancing was on, in the run up to Christmas! Akifah has had this abandon stolen away from her by the effects of leprosy.

Help make Christmas a time to celebrate for all families

This Christmas, give one extra present to that little girl or little boy who will be told they have leprosy today. A generous offering of just £24 could cure a child of leprosy, please click here.

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