Members of our dioceses will be experiencing the work of TLM Ireland at first hand at the beginning of April. 12 people will be travelling to Kairigiri, in the region of Tamil Nadu on Easter Monday, 17th April and arriving back on 23rd.
The dioceses of Meath and Kildare is running a ‘Good for the Sole’ project this year to raise funds for life changing surgeries for those affected by leprosy. Members of the dioceses will see the difference that this can make in people’s lives.
The team are flying into Chennai and spending their time in the region of Tamil Nadu. They will be based in the TLM Hospital in Karigiri, staying in the hospital guest houses. They will be seeing the work of that hospital and another one about 3 hours away, meeting people who might have benefited from the kind of surgeries the dioceses have been raising money for.
The visit is also an opportunity to learn about research that is going on in relation to ending leprosy and developing better treatments for it in the meantime. The team will also get the chance to meet local people who are going through a rehabilitation programme after being cured of the disease. That includes medical aspects but also learning skills for rejoining the workforce and being readmitted into society.
Last year the dioceses raised money to buy specially designed sandals for leprosy sufferers. There will be an opportunity to visit the factory where these sandals are made.
So why are members of Meath and Kildare visiting Karigiri? The whole purpose of the visit was summed up by the team during a group discussion at a recent team day: "The team are journeying to the Karigiri and Vada hospitals to meet the real people behind the stories and to further develop our partnership with The Leprosy Mission Ireland."
There is a great mix of people coming from the dioceses. There was a wonderful response from students around the dioceses. Hannah Spendlove (Naas Union), Sophia Peschke (Naas Union) and Amy Colton (Geashill & Killeigh Union) are all in Transition Year. Rebecca Redding (Tullamore Union) is doing her leaving certificate this year. Catherine Vance (Dunshaughlin) is in her final year training to be a primary school teacher. Also on the team we have Sharon Glynne (Navan Union) and Sharon Spendlove, Rev. Philip Heak, Christabel Clifford and Rhonda Willoughby (all of Naas Union). Along with them, Emma Rothwell, the Diocesan Youth and Children's Officer and Ken Gibson, CEO of The Leprosy Mission, will be leading the team.
The team members are looking forward to bringing home stories of what they have seen in India and running special events when they return. Some of the team members have already held events and raised money through the generosity and support of their parishes for the work of the Leprosy Mission.
The team would like to thank everyone who has supported them in their decision to travel to India.
We ask for your prayers:
- That travel would go smoothly
- Protection from sickness
- That time with the people of the The Leprosy Mission in India would be a time of learning, of inspiration and chance to build lasting relationships.