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Shelter in the storm

Shelter in the storm

When Hawa form Ethiopia was in Grade 8 she began to find it difficult to write. Her hand had started to claw but she had no idea why. She loved school and wanted to study but she couldn’t see how she could carry on, so reluctantly she dropped out.

To make matters worse, her friends had started noticing her clawed hand and they didn’t like it; they stopped talking to her or including her in their games. Hawa found this really hard to cope with and felt quite depressed.

Hawa’s relatives took her to many different doctors trying desperately to find the cause of the lack of movement in her hands and the patches that had appeared on her skin. Finally, when she was 16, she was diagnosed with leprosy.

Hawa was given a year’s worth of multi-drug therapy which has completely cured her of the disease, but sadly she has been left with considerable disabilities because it took so long to diagnose and treat her.

There is still hope though. The hospital in her rural community encouraged her to travel the 300 mile journey to TLM-supported ALERT Hospital in Addis Ababa. She was accompanied by her cousin as her parents are no longer alive. The hospital can offer reconstructive surgery on her hands which potentially means that Hawa will be able to return to school and complete her education. But unfortunately when Hawa arrived, all the hospital beds were full.

Thankfully Hawa has been housed at the hostel next to ALERT – this hostel is funded by TLM Northern Ireland. Your generous donations are providing people affected by leprosy who travel to ALERT from rural villages with a comfortable bed in a clean and safe environment; if it wasn’t for this hostel many people would end up sleeping on the city streets, exposed to disease and abuse.
Your support is not just giving leprosy-affected people shelter, it’s also giving them hope; hope that people do care and the knowledge that they have not been forgotten about.

Find out more about our work in Ethiopia.