Christian Aid to Vietnam's Forgotten Victims of Leprosy
August 12, 2011
Financial aid is being received here for destitute victims of leprosy from Christian Aid Mission based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Most of these lepers are located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and many of them are Christians.
"This is one of the most heartbreaking situations in Vietnam today, but one in which we can really make a difference through compassionate help," explains a staff worker of Christian Aid.
He says that currently about 22,000 victims of leprosy are living in the leper colonies of Vietnam. Most are Christian tribal people living in remote areas of the Central Highlands. They are forgotten and endure a miserable existence in the jungles. To feed themselves they have to work in the fields to grow corn, sweet potatoes and taro roots even though many have lost some of their hands, fingers and toes to leprosy.
With financial aid from Christian Aid for the past several years, ministries have been helping victims of leprosy in the provinces of Gia Lai and Dak Lak. These ministries would like to extend their ministry to help lepers in other provinces also.
These ministries provide basic food supplies, medicine, and clothing. Believers in Christ also receive spiritual nourishment which is a great encouragement. The ministries share the Gospel every time they visit a leper colony and many of the victims have found the hope of eternal life by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior.
"This is an excellent project for local churches, Sunday schools or Christian groups in America to undertake this fall," comments the Christian Aid staff worker.
There are 17 predominantly Christian leper colonies in Gia Lai Province with 638 patients, and six leper colonies in Dak Lak Province with 345 patients. Most of the patients are seriously disabled. Those who do not have fingers are unable to feed themselves, so most of the time they are hungry and also suffering pain from the disease. Some barely survive with help from their families. However, because their families are so very poor the lepers have to live on sweet potatoes or wild roots they find in the jungle. Gifts of just $10 a month can keep one of these desperate people alive.
Since most of them have lost their fingers and/or toes, they are limited in what they can do. Raising chickens or goats is something they can manage. A gift of $25 provides 25 baby chicks while two baby goats can be purchased with a gift of $30. These gifts would enable a leper to become self-sufficient.
Contributions by mail for the leper ministries of Vietnamese Evangelical Churches are being received by Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. For tax-deductible receipts, please make checks payable to Christian Aid Mission. Christian Aid operates solely in a representative capacity for this ministry which is not an affiliate of Christian Aid and is fully independent. There is no legal or denominational bond between the two.