Every year, four thousand people in Bangladesh are still told’: “You have Leprosy’. Four thousand people for whom the future is suddenly very uncertain. The disease often leads to exclusion, loss of income and disabilities requiring lifelong care. Leprosy Mission wants to help these people and stop leprosy.
Bangladesh has 150 million inhabitants living in close proximity to each other. Many of them live below the poverty line, 13% even in extreme poverty. Leprosy often spreads in places where many people live in poverty and poor conditions. In the tea plantation region in northern Bangladesh, poverty is very high. There is only one hospital in the country that can provide specific leprosy care.
Leprosy is a profound disease. With timely treatment, a person with leprosy can be cured without unpleasant consequences. It also then stops the infection. Unfortunately, government care falls short and many leprosy infections are diagnosed too late. In addition, people with leprosy are often subject to discrimination. Then they are denied access to social services or education for their children. Many people also lose their jobs. Finally, they end up in a negative spiral. From leprosy infection, to exclusion, to extreme poverty.
To break this negative spiral, Leprosy Mission established the BRIGHT program in Bangladesh. BRIGHT stands for: Bangladesh Rehabilitation Initiative for Good Health and Transformation. The program was started to stop leprosy, treat disabilities, combat discrimination and help people become self-reliant.
‘Thanks to the doctors and caregivers of Leprosy Mission, my child and I can now return to our families. We are full of hope to be able to build a new future again’ – One-time patient cured after treatment and able to become self-sufficient again in her community.
Approach Leprosy Mission
Leprosy Mission’s approach in northern Bangladesh has three pillars:
Through its work in the hospital, on the tea plantations and the regions around them, Leprosy Mission helps people heal and recover economically in a practical way. Leprosy Mission works with local churches to provide spiritual care to people in need. At the hospital, everyone is welcome to attend the daily worship service. This is how Leprosy Mission looks out for the most vulnerable and seeks to make the love of Christ visible.
Short- and long-term impact
The BRIGHT project is already having a major impact in the short term. For example, 60.000 people will receive (preventive) medicine against leprosy, curing them of the disease and preventing infection. In addition, 6.500 people will be treated for their leprosy wounds and disabilities in a specialized leprosy hospital.
In the longer term, the focus for this target group is on self-reliance in order to break the cycle of poverty. Within that framework, 1.700 people and their families will participate in self-help groups. These groups have a positive impact on the wider community. For example, by improving village infrastructure, providing clean drinking water and ensuring girls are educated. And so, people who were initially excluded because of their illnesses are now important players in the development of their communities.
Last but not least, of strategic value is the development of a new leprosy drug with the goal of stopping leprosy infections. The big goal is to eventually make Bangladesh leprosy-free!
Cost of the project and how you can participate!
A total of 68.200 people are helped by this project! The cost of the “BRIGHT Bangladesh” project is USD 140,000 per year. The project will be implemented for a minimum of three years in the period 2022, 2023 and 2024. MissionInvest would like to get involved in this important project! In the Netherlands we aim to raise USD 80,000 per year. We hope to raise the remaining part of USD 60,000 per year in the USA.
Are you looking for a project that really reaches the poorest of the poor? And besides practical help, do you also want the Gospel to be shared? Then this is a suitable project for you!
Your contribution to this project is greatly appreciated! You can finance the entire project, or a smaller sub-project starting at about USD 10,000. Of course, you can also support this project for several years. For larger donors it is also possible to visit this project in person!