Give Joy and Hope This Christmas
(This fundraising campaign is now closed)
I always think of Christmas as a time of joy and hope.
Mary and Joseph felt the joy of a new born baby. The angel announced to the shepherds “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born … a Saviour” that baby was the hope of the world. In churches and schools all over the country we are reminded of that joy in the joyful chaos of the Nativity Play.
And there is the joy that comes from meeting to celebrate with family and friends, exchanging gifts to demonstrate our love for each other.
But earlier this year I met people who would have no joy and no hope without the support of people like you and The Leprosy Mission. This Christmas will you give joy and hope to someone affected by leprosy?
People living in poor communities and slums across Dhaka, Bangladesh, told me about the stigma they had faced because of their leprosy.
Some had been forced out of their original homes by neighbours who believed they were bringing shame and disease on the community.
Some had lost their jobs because of the prejudice of their employer or because their disability had prevented them from working.
Some had seen their children lose out on an education when they were expelled because someone in their family had leprosy. Others were now too poor to afford the necessary books and uniform.
They were even prevented from accessing the meagre benefits that in theory they are entitled to.
None of them had much to be joyful about, or any reason to have hope for a better future.
Many of the 600 or so people diagnosed with leprosy today, or on Christmas Day, will face the same future of stigma, prejudice and hopelessness.
But you can help. You can give them joy and hope this Christmas.
Meeting these three ladies was incredibly joyful and uplifting. They have each found new joy and hope since joining self-help groups in their communities. These groups, operating in many communities in many countries, enable people affected by leprosy to support one another to achieve both physical and financial security for themselves and their families.
Rang has quite serious problems caused by leprosy in both of her feet and in one eye. This makes many things much more difficult but, supported by the group around her, she has started an amazing little business.
Rang makes mosquito nets for babies. Her nets can potentially save the lives of hundreds of babies and the income she earns gives her independence and gives her family hope and dignity.
Your gift this Christmas will help another family to find hope for their future.
Nishat gave me this bag after she finished a 10 day course in making Jute handicrafts. The ladies all took such joy in their achievement, knowing that they each now had the potential to achieve a better future and ensure that their children could go to school.
Will you give someone like Nishat the training that will turn their life around?
Farjana‘s roadside stall serves rickshaw drivers through the night with boiled eggs, hot milk and rolls. Many of the men from poorer communities pull rickshaws.
With help and encouragement from her group, Farjana identified a need that she could meet for others in her community that gives her family a better future too.
You can give someone like her a gift today that gives hope and joy for a lifetime.
During advent nearly 15,000 people will be told they have leprosy. Will you help them?
Your Christmas gift is important. You can give joy and hope to people like Rang, Nishat and Farjana. Please send your gift in time for Christmas.
Thank you. I wish you great joy and hope this Christmas.