Most are aware of India’s “Untouchables”. But there is another small persecuted group- a group that even the Untouchables will not touch. Who are these? They are the Lepers. This ancient disease is so stigmatized and so feared that most of India ignores its existence. It is seen as one of the most terrible punishments of the gods for sin in a former life.
These common beliefs and modern medical facts are at odds with one another. Leperacy is, in fact, one of the least contagious of all diseases. This is because almost everyone is born with a natural immunity from it. For those who are infected with the disease, modern medicine has effective, inexpensive and permanent cures. Yet more than half of the World’s Lepers live in India, where the Indian people and government are poorly disposed to deal with this disease and its victims, though the disease could be eradicated in a single generation.
Those afflicted by leperacy don’t have time for these facts. Treatment or cure would cost money that these impoverished people don’t have. It would require effort from these sick, weary people that they don’t have. These people spend their days and energy begging and digging through trash to simply survive. They live on the streets and in alleys, trying to be invisible. Pastor Kumar, who ministers to the Lepers, explained to us that even after a life of rejection, no one is willing to transport them to a gravesite or bury them. His wish is that he could provide this one small measure of respect and decency to his believers.
We are currently looking for ways to help with transportation, which would aid those who are helping with the lepers. We also want to help at least two times each year by bringing them blankets and clothes. This is a time and a season when we can all join together to reach out and help meet the needs of these people.