While most people don’t realize it, leprosy is still a big issue in the world today. It is found in more than 120 countries, with more than 200,000 new cases reported every year, and the stigma associated with it is nearly as harmful as the disease itself.

The good news is we can all help. In fact, just a tiny bit of effort from us can lead to enormous benefits for those struggling. Here are 10 ways you can help people with leprosy:

1. Do a Little Learnin’

Most people in developed countries are astonished to find that leprosy still exists. Isn’t that, like, something Jesus took care of thousands of years ago? Amazingly, it not only still exists but impacts a large number of people. Educating ourselves about the causes, treatments, and stigmas faced by those who have it can go a long way.

Looking for a place to start? This article is a good primer: (link to 10 Things People Don’t Realize About Leprosy article). You can also find quality information here:

CDC.gov – Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy)

WHO.int – Leprosy

Rising Star Outreach – Understanding Leprosy

2. Donate to the Cause

There are dozens of quality organizations out there working to fight leprosy by providing medical treatment, educating the world about its existence, and providing support to families of the afflicted.

Financial contributions are one of the greatest ways to help nonprofits further their missions, as it allows them the resources they need to make enduring changes in the lives of those suffering.

These organizations work hard to use those contributions honestly and compassionately. A good charity believes in transparency, and it is strongly recommended that you check oversight organizations like Charity Navigator to make sure your donation is going where it should.

Rising Star Outreach has a charity score of 100% which has earned it a Four-Star rating!

3. Sponsor a Student through Rising Star Outreach 

Rising Star Outreach works to provide educational opportunities for children whose families have been affected by leprosy and its stigma. Education allows these students to potentially change the course of their families’ trajectory, bringing hope and health where there was none.

$30 a month can provide a student with this type of opportunity. Additionally, the sponsor can communicate with their student via letter, email, and video calls and witness firsthand the impact of their contribution.

Learn more about this amazing program here: Rising Star Outreach Sponsorship

4. Spread Awareness

Something as simple as spreading awareness about the disease and those afflicted with it can have a big impact. You can do this through social media, social groups, the workplace, or even just in everyday conversation. Helping others see that leprosy still impacts others and that we can assist in eradicating it could make all the difference in the world.

5. Champion Curing Leprosy in Your Spheres of Influence

Many companies, organizations, church groups, schools, and community groups are on the lookout for worthy new causes. Why not suggest curing leprosy to them?

Check to see if your company has a humanitarian program (many do). Bring up the issue to church groups looking for service projects. Recommend it as a potential cause for school groups.

Something as simple as an email to a boss, principal, or church leader could lead to a brand new life for those affected by leprosy.

6. Volunteer

Most of the groups fighting leprosy would be overjoyed at the offer of help. Whatever your means, talents, resources, or personality, you have something valuable that can help in the fight.

Perhaps it’s social media campaigns, or phone calls, or copy editing, or artwork. It might even be writing for the organization’s blog (in fact, the article you’re reading right now was written by two volunteers).

Whatever your skills, there are groups out there that could use you whatever your schedule happens to be. Some examples of places you could contact are PAHO, The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, Leprosy Research Initiative, The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy.

And, of course, Rising Star Outreach.

7. Get Out There

Who doesn’t want a vacation? Have you always wanted to travel out of the country to help drive the mission of a cause you’re passionate about? This is a way you can help!

You can actually travel to Rising Star Outreach’s school campus and learn from people living in leprosy colonies by traveling to India with Rising Star Outreach Abroad!

You can take all the knowledge you learn on your trip and teach people back at home what families affected by leprosy are going through.

8. Start a Fundraiser

Starting a fundraiser can help your community and the whole world know more about leprosy and how to help solve the problem. Whether it’s a walk-a-thon, a bake sale, an auction, or something else, people tend to respond to fundraisers for worthy causes.

As mentioned above, checking with your company’s human resources office or other organizations (schools, churches, etc.) could be a great place to start.

9. Finally, Show Compassion

Leprosy is a disease where the stigma can be just as bad as the ailment. Being mindful of the language we use, the attitude we convey, and the opinions we express can be an important step.

This is true for many conditions and diseases. While most of us will likely never cross paths with someone who has leprosy, we will encounter those with other types of conditions often. Approaching everyone with an attitude of helpfulness and compassion rather than aversion and judgmentalism will go a long way in making the world a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

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