Every week, care is provided in four crucial ways.
Every Week, the Good News of God’s great love is brought to numerous leprosy colonies in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Every Week, via small group ministry, our Church Planters encourage colony residents to experience the personal touch of Jesus Christ’s unfailing love for them through Bible studies and Praise & Worship services.
Every week,our team in India provides medical care for all leprosy patients. They treat wounds & infections. They make arrangements & financial provision for surgeries.They provide 24/7 hospice care for leprosy patients who are no longer able to care for themselves.
Every week, Monday through Friday, the children of those with leprosy are provided after school tutoring & bible study training through ‘The Little Lights Program’. These children, kindergarten thru high school, are given nutritious dinners & the opportunity to be the hope & future of India.
Every month, rice is distributed to various colonies EAV serves. Custom footwear is also provided for leprosy patients to prevent further infection and trauma.
In addition to all of this, Team EAV – USA provides prayer, encouragement, administrative & financial support for the accomplishment of this great mission.
T he stigma associated with leprosy often prevents those affected from receiving consistent Biblical teachings. Each week, colony residents are offered an opportunity to experience Christ’s unfailing love for them through Bible study and praise and worship services. Many have been profoundly impacted, with some even being thankful for contracting leprosy as their suffering has given them an opportunity to find meaning in Christ–an opportunity they otherwise might not have had.
WOUND AND ULCER CARE
Our teams administer weekly medical care to residents in the colonies and make financial provisions for surgeries. Residents eagerly anticipate the arrival of our teams, particularly during the rainy season when muddy conditions can irritate their wounds and ulcers and lead to infections. We also supply patients with bandages and educate them on how they can keep their wounds clean at home in between visits from our teams.
Leprosy is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae that leads to nerve damage and loss of sensation. A person who has contracted the disease becomes unable to feel pain and is at risk of injury and infection, particularly in the extremities. It is quite common for those with leprosy to have wounded and disfigured feet, and if left untreated, amputation may become necessary.
Our on-staff shoemaker provides our patients with special shoes to prevent further trauma and infection to their feet. Shoes are handmade and customized to meet the specific needs of the individual patient.
When older people contract leprosy, it can be particularly heartbreaking. Many do not have family or have been shunned by their relatives. They are left helpless and unable to care for themselves. Our hospice center in Coimbatore provides care to these individuals. Once left to feel hopeless and completely worthless, those at our hospice center begin to thrive. It is here that many enter a personal relationship with Christ, allowing them to live their final years with peace and fulfillment.
As their spirits are healed, so are their bodies. Whether receiving treatment within the colonies or at our hospice center, their faith and alleviated physical symptoms allow the people we serve to enjoy a higher standard of living.
Nutritional programs help provide additional bodily care to residents in the areas we serve. We offer nutritional education as well as a two-week supply of rice to families to help supplement their monthly intake of food. As part of our after-school tutoring program, children also receive the best, and possibly only, meal of their day.
Jack and Sandy Kennedy and their team at Go Power® have worked to create a “Happy Bar” high-protein nutrition snack. Go Power® provides 900 Happy Bars to Embrace A Village every week. Children receive this snack Monday through Friday during our after-school program, and it is also available to those in hospice care.
Children of those with leprosy face significant barriers in attaining an education. Although healthy themselves, they are stigmatized and turned away from schools because of their connection to the disease. They also very likely have grown up in poverty, putting access to a quality education out of their reach.
Without a good education, children have few choices other than continuing to live in the colonies and ultimately raising their own families there as well. It is our hope that educational assistance will give these children more career opportunities, thereby helping them integrate into mainstream society and breaking the perpetuation of colony life that otherwise could exist for generations to come.
While our initial focus was helping patients afflicted with this dreadful disease, Joe’s wife Pat helped us expand our vision. Pat recognized the children in the villages, who do not have the disease themselves, also are a group in need. Through after-school tutoring and participation in our Little Lights program, the children and grandchildren of leprosy patients have been excelling in school, and many have plans to attend college. These children are creating a more promising future for themselves, and consequently, for India.
Parents with leprosy have an ongoing fear that their children will contract the disease. Although they want a better life for their children, few—if any—job opportunities are available to help them provide for their children. Many must beg in order to provide for their families, but this means of survival causes them to spend long hours away from their children on a daily basis. All children in the colonies we serve have access to our after-school tutoring program. As part of this program, children receive help with their schoolwork, a Bible lesson, and their most nutritious meal of the day.
Our Little Lights children’s hostel provides a more comprehensive environment. Little Lights children receive the same benefits as those in our after-school program, but they live on site at our two-acre facility in Coimbatore where they receive 24/7 care and mentoring by our staff. In addition, they are enrolled in private schools.