Munia

Don’t Pass Her By

I need to tell you about Munia.

I have a lump in my throat even now just thinking about her and what leprosy has done to her. I need you to know her story because only you can help her face the future. Only you can help to prevent other young people from facing the same dreadful fate because of leprosy.

When the first subtle signs of leprosy appeared in her teens, Munia and her mother didn’t know what they were and just ignored them, hoping they would go away. But they didn’t. Both feet became numb and cracked. When her appearance started to change, her wider family and community became afraid. She was beaten regularly because of the ‘shame’ she brought on them. Her uncle, and others, set her on fire and chased her away with knives and sticks in order to remove the ‘curse’ from among them.

Thankfully she escaped, but with nowhere to go and no way to support herself because of her disabilities she ended up living on a railway platform, begging to survive.

The kindness of a stranger saved her life.

He recognised what she needed and rather than passing by on the other side he took her to Purulia Leprosy Hospital where, for the first time in what felt like years, she was treated with gentleness, respect and love.

The kindness of another stranger, you, will save more lives when you give a gift today.

Munia received the medicine to cure her leprosy and to heal her wounds; a bed, food and clean clothes. Tragically, her left foot was so badly infected that it had to be amputated – the only way to save her life.

It has been a long road, but Munia is thriving now. She is cured of her leprosy. She has learned to care for her badly deformed hands and feet so that any ulcers are under control.

She has even started to smile again. But as I sat with her and heard her story all I could think was what I would give to be able to go back and get her the help she needed before any of this happened.

Thousands of young people are still being infected by leprosy. What will you give to help them now, to avoid the anguish that Munia has gone through?

You can bring the cure to people like Munia who need it.

You can provide bandages, food and a clean bed.

You can help people like Munia learn how to care for their hands and feet to avoid damage and disability in the future.

The man at the station reminded me of the story Jesus told of a stranger who didn’t pass by but stopped to help a man in desperate need going out of his way, at his own expense to make sure he could be healed and loved.

Will you be the stranger who didn’t pass by for Munia and others like her today?

You can give love and hope to defeat fear and rejection – to defeat leprosy.

A gift today, of whatever you can afford, will be a declaration of love. A cry that says that what happened to Munia must not happen again.

What would Munia’s life have been like if she had been cured all those years ago?

Please give what you can to truly transform someone’s life. Transformed by a stranger who didn’t pass by on the other side.

Thank you and God bless you,

PS It costs just £24 to bring the cure for leprosy to someone like Munia before it causes permanent damage! Can you change lives today?

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27th Jul 2018

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.