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World Leprosy Day Marked Through Medium Of Music

The Leprosy Mission NZ Marks ‘World Leprosy Day’ Through The International, Cross Cultural, Interdinominational Medium Of Music.

Sunday 30th January is World Leprosy Day and ‘The Leprosy Mission New Zealand’ (TLMNZ) is marking the occasion by actively creating awareness of the disease to the Kiwi Youth at the nationally renowned ‘Parachute’ Music Event in Hamilton next weekend (28-31 Jan)

This weekend supporters of the fight against Leprosy around the world will be going to great lengths to create awareness and raise funds to help the millions of individuals still affected by the, if not caught early enough, literally crippling disease. The fight to eradicate leprosy is more than the elimination of the physical elements of the disease – it is to tackle the social causes and consequences of leprosy, which cause untold suffering. This is why this day is so vital for raising awareness of leprosy. Until the social problems related to leprosy have been defeated, there is still more work to be done to make leprosy history.

TLMNZ’s youth specific ‘be the cure’ campaign will be creatively incorporated into kiwi music culture through TLMNZ’s sponsorship of the Palladium at the Parachute Music festival in Hamilton this weekend (28-31 January); with the ultimate aim of creating awareness amongst the festival goes of the horrifying global issue of Leprosy. Many people today are either unaware of the continued suffering that Leprosy brings to millions around the world or falsely believe that the disease no-longer exists or just do not understand what Leprosy actually is. TLM seeks to dispel such falsities and drum up support (emotionally and financially) for the cause through education and awareness campaigns; and this year Parachute is a great platform to be able to do just that!

What is Leprosy?
Leprosy is caused by bacteria that most of us are naturally immune to. For those who catch the disease, the first sign is a pale patch of skin which loses feeling. When a person eventually goes for help, they may already have irreversible nerve damage which could lead to permanent disabilities or blindness. Unfortunately the stigma and fear of rejection and isolation which leprosy still evokes, all too often keep people from seeking early treatment. If only they had sought treatment earlier, permanent damage could have been prevented.

Even today more than 500,000 new cases of leprosy are detected each year. This means that each day over 1,500 men, women and children will be told they have leprosy; that’s one every minute. In 1874 when The Leprosy Mission was created, there was no cure for the disease. It took until 1982 for a complete cure to become available: a combination of drugs called Multi-Drug Therapy. This kills the leprosy bacteria making the disease entirely treatable.

We must not become complacent. Though leprosy has been successfully eradicated in many countries, especially Europe, it is still a significant public health issue in several countries including East Timor, India, Brazil, Nepal, DR Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar, Angola and Central African Republic.

There are some encouraging signs that stigma caused by leprosy is finally being addressed. In August 2004 the United Nations adopted a resolution entitled “discrimination against leprosy victims and their families” – the first time that discrimination against leprosy has been acknowledged as a human rights issue.

Let’s make World Leprosy Day 2005 another step in the journey towards a world without leprosy.

Modeste’s Story!
In the Democratic Republic of Congo there are about 20 new cases of leprosy diagnosed each year per 100,000 of the population

Modeste lives on an island in the middle of Lake Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. He was deserted by his wife and children when he got leprosy. Because the leprosy wasn’t caught in time, his feet and hands have been irreversibly damaged and he is no longer able to walk on his feet as his ankles cannot hold his weight. Modeste has stumps for fingers and his face shows the ravages of leprosy. Yet somehow, he manages to use a hoe to grow sweet-corn, peanuts, sunflowers and bananas.

He received some chickens through a Leprosy Mission rehabilitation project, but he doesn’t eat them, they are his ongoing source of income. Recently he had his roof fixed – and paid for the work with a chicken.

His daughter, who is grown up, has now returned to live with him.


Notes to Editors:

For immediate release

For Donations please ring: 0800 862 873

The Leprosy Mission International

The Leprosy Mission International is a leading international non-denominational Christian organization, with over 130 years experience in leprosy work.

As long as leprosy afflicts individuals and communities, The Leprosy Mission (TLM) is committed to doing all it can to break its power and impact.

This means not just providing a cure, but also addressing the underlying causes, working to prevent disability and to restore dignity and wholeness to people and communities affected by leprosy around the world.

The Leprosy Mission (New Zealand)

Parachute Music Festival


This 7,000 capacity indoor venue is the brightest star on your map if you have a partiality for local flavour. New Zealand's finest are on the menu, and the country's largest (and only?!) rollerdisco happens here too.

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