We first told you about Arati in our youth resource, Shoes, Feet and All Things Sweet. Arati had a very difficult start in life but thanks to your kindness and support, Arati’s life has been turned around.
When we last told you about Arati, she was desperate to start school and her mother, a widow, was struggling to find work to support Arati and her younger brother. But today, we are delighted to tell you about the transformation this small family have experienced!
Arati was just a young child when she was diagnosed with leprosy. Her dad, who’d also had leprosy, died when she was six, leaving her mother, Devi, to care for Arati and her brother. But her mother could only find work doing unskilled farm labouring. But some days she didn’t have any work at all which meant no food for her or the children. But then life got even harder when Arati was diagnosed with leprosy.
Arati was referred to a leprosy hospital in Nepal for treatment, and the staff there noticed how malnourished she was. Thankfully, Arati’s leprosy was caught early and she has not experienced any lasting disabilities.
But, sadly, when Arati and her family returned home, their community rejected them; in remote villages in Nepal there is still so much fear and misunderstanding surrounding leprosy. So Devi fled with the children to live with her brother in another village. There, life continued to be a struggle for them all.
That was until they were told about how The Leprosy Mission could help them. Devi heard how TLM could help them with housing and even help her to learn a new skill that would enable her to earn a stable income.
With your kind gifts, TLM Northern Ireland was able to purchase land for the family. And then, together with other TLM offices, we were able to build Devi her very own family home. Devi was delighted! But the transformation did not stop there. Devi was given a small loan to start a goat-rearing business. Now she makes a regular income from selling the milk and the goats, she is even hoping to expand the business further.
“I will never forget TLM my whole life,” says Devi. “This organisation picked us from the street and established and supported us to have dignified lives."
Now that Devi has gained financial independence, she has been able to send Arati and her brother to school. Arati is so happy to finally achieve her dream of getting a good education – she even dreams now of becoming a teacher!
What a remarkable story of lives changed and hope restored. And this has only been made possible thanks to your generous gifts to TLM.