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Home > Action Zones > Politics and Social Action > Help break the chains of leprosy

Help break the chains of leprosy
World Leprosy Sunday 28th Jan 2018

Leprosy has ruined a grandmother’s life and blighted her daughter’s. Please pray that a youngLeft to right mother Mariama g
granddaughter can escape its grasp!

The Leprosy Mission is asking Christians to pray for people affected by leprosy in Niger, one of Africa’s
poorest nations. Please pray that dedicated Leprosy Mission staff can find and treat their leprosy and that
they receive the fullness of life Jesus speaks of – ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the
full.’ John 10: 10 (NIV)

Saoude (the little girl pictured next to her mum and granny) is a bright and vivacious eight-year-old with
high hopes of training to be a nurse when she grows up. She says she can then make people like her granny

Her grandmother, Habsou, came from a poor family who moved around daily to find food. In Niger, the
sun-scorched earth lacks nutrients, rainfall can be very scarce and few crops can grow. Habsou was just five
years old when the first signs of leprosy appeared on her body. It was recommended that her parents take
her to Danja Hospital where The Leprosy Mission has provided services for decades. Her parents, however,
did not want her to go because of the shame surrounding the disease. The fear of their whole family being
rejected from their community was just too great.

Instead little Habsou was given traditional medicine and hidden away in a hut for many years. Her freedom
to play outside with the other children was taken from her, and, as leprosy worsened she began to self

Habsou finally came to Danja Hospital aged 13. By then she had already lost her fingers and toes and her
sight was fading. Leprosy had savagely attacked her body. Over the coming years, her leprosy was treated
and her wounds were tended.

As an adult, Habsou was only able to feed her family by begging, she was simply too disabled to work. Her
leprosy-affected husband died when she was pregnant with their youngest child Mariama. When Mariama
was 15, Habsou told her to marry a leprosy-affected man much older than her as she could no longer afford
to keep her. Mariama was considered tainted and ‘dirty’ even though she had never had leprosy herself. No
boy from a respectable family would ever consider marrying her.

It was against Mariama’s will to marry this older man but she had no choice. She soon became pregnant
with Saoude. The chains of leprosy had wrapped themselves around 15-year-old Mariama.

Today, little Saoude goes to primary school in Danja village and her world seems full of possibility.
Saoude does not yet wear the heavy chains of leprosy but the threat of them is not far away. If she cannot
get a good education, she too will be forced to marry young as her parents won’t be able to afford to look
after her. She will have to marry someone from the leprosy community and not of her choosing. She will
undoubtedly be sentenced to a life of poverty, barely surviving because of the chains of leprosy. An
education and a job can save her from all of this. Saoude will be able to look after her parents and
grandmother with the money she earns. There is a possibility of freedom for little Saoude!

In the Gospels, we hear how Jesus brought healing and acceptance to people with leprosy. Two thousand
years later, will you join The Leprosy Mission to continue His ministry to these people so desperately in

For more information please visit www.worldleprosysunday.org.uk

To book a speaker or preacher please contact Jenny Foster, Regional Manager based in Bristol