On the evening of Boxing Day 2016 my friend Alison Clark-Morris and I flew out to Delhi to spend two weeks at the Village of Hope; a village which has been built for Leprosy sufferers and their families. Ali is a podiatrist (or, as she became known in India, “the foot doctor”) who works at a chiropractic clinic in Pangbourne and Theale Wellbeing Centre, Berkshire. The Village is run by the charity Hope Worldwide.
What has been achieved over 25 years was inspirational. People with leprosy not only suffer from the illness but because of the associated stigma, the whole family lose their jobs, cannot marry and are cast out of the community, usually ending up as beggars. The Village provides not just a home but also microcredit loans to set up small businesses and training in computing, nursing and sewing. The children and grandchildren of the original 800 residents are now getting jobs and building lives outside the Village. We saw a busy, happy, vibrant place, with weddings, religious festivals and parties seemingly every day. (We were included in them all!).
Leprosy is now almost eliminated from India, only 127,326 new cases being diagnosed each year. Early detection is essential to avert disability. But for the previous generation, the infection left life-long neuropathy (nerve damage) in feet and hands leading to pain, disfigurement and loss of sensation. Loss of sensation leads to serious foot ulcers, similar to those sometimes seen on people with diabetes in the UK. It is these ulcers that, if not managed carefully, result in amputations and disability.
The bandaging clinic that treats the ulcers was where we worked alongside Raju. Raju contracted leprosy at 13 and ran away from home to protect his family and seek treatment. He was one of the lucky ones with no permanent damage. The Village trained him in wound care and while he cannot read or write he is a highly skilled medical technician, treating up to 100 patients a day. Ali’s very specialist skills made a real impact in just a fortnight, treating the ulcers and providing orthotic padding to relieve the pressure that causes the ulcers. She helped Raju further improve his skills and left a simple programme of education in self help for the residents to prevent new ulcers.
Our final job was to work with the charity to draw up an investment plan for the clinic to provide more up to date equipment (lights, steriliser, water supply etc.); a female assistant to work alongside Raju to deal with the many female leprosy sufferers who feel too ashamed to be treated by a man and finally the means for more professional podiatrists from the UK or elsewhere to visit as volunteers. Thankfully the first two of these three goals have already been achieved and there are plans for other podiatrists to go out next January. The picture below is of Raju and his new assistant.
Thank you to all those who have supported this worthwhile programme. If you would like to contribute to the continuing work of the Village of Hope please donate today.
10th June 2017
Venue: The Star of Kings, 126 York Way, Kings Cross, N1 0AX
Ticket Website: https://hopeworldwide.charitycheckout.co.uk/hopejam
HOPE worldwide is aiming to serve 20,000 people in Nepal after deadly earthquake. Through the local affiliate (HOPE worldwide Nepal), we are working closely with the local government and international community, which is being organized by the United Nations.
As of 4th May, services that have been provided by HOPE worldwide:
– 12,000 blankets
– 1,000 emergency shelter (tarpaulines)
– 5,000 kg of food and water
– 100 kgs of medicines
– 1 camp for displaced families in Balaju, Kathmandu
– 1 emergency school in Balaju, Kathmandu
Teams are reaching out to various districts across the impacted areas, delivering much needed services. So far the areas served include Gorkha, Kathmandu, Nuwako, Sindhulpachuk, Lalitpur. Other areas are being assessed to be served as well.
The people of Nepal need your help, come join us bringing hope and changing lives!
To donate and for links to latest updates and HOPE worldwide Nepal please click here: http://www.everydayhero.co.uk/event/nepal-appeal
Snooker personalities Jimmy White, John Virgo and Alfie Burden starred in an event to raise vital funds for a HOPE school in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Hope Worldwide UK hosted the evening of entertainment at Guildford Spectrum on Monday 23rd March.
The evening kicked off with some trick shots by John Virgo, the former co-presenter of snooker-based TV game show Big Break with Jim Davidson.
Snooker legend and six-time World Championship finalist White, nicknamed The Whirlwind, then played a frame against event organiser Rubik Ghalustians with Virgo acting as MC. Read the full article here: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/sport/other-sport/jimmy-white-john-virgo-alfie-8911342
This year, most of the conference was devoted to an introductory course in Empathic communication. This was delivered by Ronny Yttrehus, leader of the Oslo Church of Christ (pictured below on far right) who has been trained in empathic communication. Jesus modelled this kind of communication as his ‘heart went out’ to people and it was very helpful to learn how better to listen to people and help them deal with their challenges. This is very relevant to HOPE worldwide’s European projects where we strive to help people in a variety of situations: seniors, orphans, homeless, recovering addicts and refugees. The conference participants are pictured below.
Summary of the introduction course:
Context: When people can’t understand, manage or find meaning in what is happening to them they can feel helpless and need help to move back to normality.
The four steps of empathic communication:
An example of this communication is shown via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jexe_UjR_XQ
N.B. The listener should not interrupt or comment during Steps 1 to 3 apart from acknowledging what is being said. If questions need to be asked after step 3 then the listener can ask ‘open questions’ such as ‘what else…’ or ‘can you tell me more about …..’ rather than ‘Why?’. The method was developed by Dr. Lisbeth Holter Brudal (pictured below in deep discussion with conference delegates from Russia and Ukraine).
The book ‘Empathic Communication’ by Lisbeth-Holter-Brudal that accompanies the course is available as an e book on Amazon.
Compassion in Action – Helping Ukrainian refugees: Lesia (pictured below) is a Ukrainian married to a Dane. She really wanted to help in the current crisis where there are 800,000 refugees! She and her friends from the church of Christ in Copenhagen collected 40 boxes of clothes etc… and then she shared it on facebook. Over time 1,000 boxes of donations were made and didn’t know how to get them to Ukraine…something she had to pray about. Amazingly, a major shipping company donated a huge shipping container and transported it for free! It is inspiring to see what can be achieved when you start something in faith.
I was involved from the beginning of the project and was able to see how it grew from an idea and a vision to actuality. I was one of the coordinators and assisted in organising the group whilst in Kenya. I was specifically involved in the Business Programme. This involved me working with some of the team on the ground in Kenya who had a good knowledge of the needs of the people out there. I had the opportunity to specifically work with fashion and hairdressing students as well as local performers teaching them the basics of financial record keeping and the importance of budgeting and forecasting in business. This was achieved through classroom style presentations and smaller group interactive discussions.
I wanted to get involved because for a long time, I felt a strong desire to help the poor. I felt a great sense of gratitude over all that I have been blessed with in life and really wanted to play a role in helping others. My place of origin is Ghana so going to Africa really appealed to me. I also wanted to do something that would inspire others to want to help those living in humble circumstances.
I was able to interview a young man called Emilio who shared about his life. He informed me that he grew up with 19 other class mates and that 15 of them had died mostly through getting involved in crime. He was one of the 4 people that survived growing up in Mukuru through good people in the community helping him turn his life around and introduce him to God. His dream is to help transform the slum where he lives into a popular destination for people to live. He is studying IT and runs his own business. He dreams of “bringing London to Mukuru” i.e. transform Mukuru into a popular destination like London. What a vision for someone who has gone through so much.
The team did an amazing job – everybody from the volunteers to the staff on the ground. The children and teachers learned a great deal from the teaching programme, people who would otherwise not have been able to afford treatment were able to receive excellent medical care, close to a hundred young men and women received basic training in finance and marketing and a large number of performers were able to record a movie of life in Mukuru as well as produce their own song.
I found this experience truly exhilarating. I have found it incredibly fulfilling focusing on giving to others. It has given me a greater sense of appreciation of all that I have and it has really helped put my challenges in perspective. I would encourage everyone to experience what I have. The joy on some of the faces of these people when they receive help is truly amazing, it is humbling and made me ponder how I can best do more to help others. Its an amazing reward to see how you can positively impact lives. “The Kenya Project” has given me true understanding of the phrase “Giving is Living”.