I learned about the MeridianRising Star Outreach school project from Susan Fullmer, a subscriber and neighbor. Like some others, I am reluctant to make online contributions, so I was pleased to see that there is a check donation option. As the founding directors of Latter-day Saint Charities in India 1998-2001, we provided project support to leprosy institutes in Tamil Nadu and Nepal, so we know first-hand from our visits to the institutions the conditions lepers and their children endure and value of schooling for these healthy, but disadvantaged youth.
I too will donate and I strongly agree with only putting the request for donations at the front and end of the article, it is very distracting and feels like all you care about is money money money, it takes away from the people you are teaching us about and touching our hearts in a way that we certainly want to help.
I was nervous about using my credit card information as well so I called the phone number of Rising Star to ask if it was a secure connection. They assured me it was so I made a donation. How could I look at these pictures and not want to help? (My only suggestion is to list a link to donate at just the beginning and the end of the article. Otherwise is looks a little too much like you're just asking for money and I routinely avoid such as just a marketing opportunity.) Fortunately the photos and the text that said all funds will be used for the charitable purpose with no overhead fees overcame my usual objections and I made a contribution. After ignoring it at first, it kept coming back to me that this was a wonderful opportunity to help in a very small way. Bless you for your efforts. I hope somehow it snowballs into more than just a school for these poor yet deserving people. Thanks you Meridian for the humanitarian opportunity to help others.
I'm with the person who didn't want name, address and credit card out there in one more location. Please add PayPal as a way to donate. I promise I will donate, if you do that.
We will be publishing a series of articles throughout this week with more information on leprosy and the issues that face those affected in India. Stay tuned.
I love the human side of this story, but wish there had been a little more education about leprosy put into the story as well, to highlight the preventable nature of the disease, and the senselessness of families shunning their own loved ones.
Like you, I assumed that this was a disease of the past, and have no idea on whether it's contracted or inherited, whether there is a cure, or if it's preventable (ie, clean food/water, etc).
I learned more about that (if even a little) from prior comments. Could more info be added in to the story?
Is there a way to donate without listing my name, address, phone number and email address? I want to donate but don’t like giving all of that information.
I am excited to make a generous donation and encourage others too. I want to take it one step further. how can I get involved with the actual building of the school?
First of all, a huge thanks to the Proctors for their kindness in dedicating this year's Meridian campaign to Rising Star OUtreach. They are angels! Also, a note that our work has succeeded only because more than a thousand people have responded, sacrificed and come to serve, lift, and heal. It's the story of many, many caring and loving people reaching out to lift some of the most stigmatized people in the world.
To answer some great questions: We used to use crocheted leprosy bandages, but we now get our sterilized bandages at cost and so no longer use ones that cannot be properly sterilized. They were made with so much love! Thank you for your service! We miss the connection of people to our work from the crocheted bandages, but are grateful to now have a very inexpensive resource for these needed bandages.
The cure for leprosy, a multi-drug therapy, is provided by WHO. The trick is in finding those who need it. In India, the problem is that people diagnosed with leprosy are usually marked socially as "Untouchables"-along with the rest of their families, This stigma is so great that many people hide any symptoms until it's too late to stop the deformities. Also, the families tend to turn the patients out into the street in order to protect the rest of the family from becoming Untouchables, or what India now terms as members of the "Unscheduled class", or "Dalits".
This is why so much of our work revolves around education and attacking the stigma associated with leprosy. We also do thousands of screenings each year and catch many cases, which can then be treated. Basically educating people that leprosy is a micro-bacteria, not a curse from God, helps people feel safe to come forward.
I'm stunned at the response from Meridian readers. In only two days $20K has been raised. Incredible! Thanks to all of you, from all of us at Rising Star Outreach! With this kind of response--surely we will reach our goal--and a new school for the children of the leprosy-affected will be built in Bihar! Praise God!
A school is very good, but what can we do to get medical help to wipe out this horrible disease from this country?
Same question as above.
I would like to know why if there is a cure discovered in 1988 do these people have leprosy....is there not enough of that cure to go around. it would be good to know the facts on this. since this is so contagious then the world health organization needs to make enough of this cure to go all around to these people so they can be healed...
I work for Rising Star Outreach, and though I work with this every single day, your article brought me to tears multiple times, being reminded of your great care and the real chance we have with your readers to make such a monumental impact in the lives of these children and their families for generations to come. I know their stories. I'm learning more each day. Your readers will hear more as this campaign moves forward. These are real people, just individuals like you and I, and I thank you for helping bring that to light and for loving them. I know you felt their love, and I am so excited to see what we are going to do for them, together! Thank you, thank you! Together, we can do this!!!
Over the years I’ve knitted or crocheted leper’s bandages as a way to help lepers plus making them helps as a distraction to my own pain. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer has a distribution program for the bandages. Do you?
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