When Emiliana from Timor Leste found white patches on her skin, she did not know it was leprosy. Nobody in her community was trained to recognise the disease. That’s why her friends told her to put coffee leaves on her legs. That’s why her mother spent all her money trying different treatments that didn’t work. And that’s why Emiliana allowed a local healer to wrap her arms and legs in banana leaves and put them over a fire.
“It was so hot and painful. I could feel it in my bones… My skin became black. I had little movement in my limbs… I was very sick. I thought I was going to die.”
Without you, children like Emiliana may not get treated for this completely curable disease. And in cases like hers, the physical side of the disease is not the worst part. Emiliana was shunned by her friends who thought they would catch leprosy.
“My friends told me I was cursed and received this disease because my father left us before I was born. I started to believe them… They would tease me at school and run away from me at lunch time. This made me very sad and lonely. I tried to laugh and make jokes to forget. But I do not forget.”
As her hand became clawed, Emiliana could not do basic chores like collecting firewood. She also found it harder and harder to write at school… but she was desperate to learn.
“I had to take my friend’s notes home and copy them out because I was so much slower than the other children. But even though writing is very difficult for me, I want to go to school and learn. It is better to try than to have regrets. I dream of going to university, getting a good job, and looking after my mum.”
Thanks to supporters like you, Emiliana may well achieve that dream! Because when The Leprosy Mission workers visited Emiliana’s community…
“They told me about a clinic where I could get medications which treat leprosy. The staff massaged my hand and showed me exercises to help the movement of my limbs. They treated me like a human being. They encouraged me, prayed for me, and told me not to give up. I thought ‘God has sent someone to look after me’.”
You can give a new future to those like Emiliana with leprosy. And because nobody should have to suffer like she did. So instead of being shunned and teased, Emiliana received love and kindness. Instead of living with burns and disability, she received a proper diagnosis and medicine for leprosy. Plus, movement to her arm and hand has been restored! And instead of falling further and further behind in school, this determined young girl has special plans.
“Before The Leprosy Mission helped me, I had no dreams for the future. But now, because of Australian supporters like you, I have hope. One day I want to become a midwife so that I too can help others.”
Please GIVE NOW to help others like her with leprosy.
will help with early diagnosis and treatment of leprosy
will help children with disabilities attend school and obtain an education
will help educate a community that leprosy is curable—to stop people like Emiliana from being horrifically burned