Wednesday, May 5, 2010

VIETNAM - Diocese vows to defeat poverty among lepers

A sister talks to former leprosy patients.
PLEIKU, Vietnam (UCAN) May 5th: — A diocese which has Vietnam’s highest number of leprosy cases has pledged to eliminate poverty among sufferers by providing education and health care for their children. “Local people with leprosy will not escape from poverty and integrate with society unless their children are given formal education,” said Father Pierre Nguyen Van Dong.

The head of caritas in Kon Tum diocese was speaking to 120 leprosy sufferers and church workers at an annual gathering in Pleiku city, in central Vietnam on May 3. He said this year; his first priority is to provide health care and education for children from families affected by leprosy. “We will provide children with milk and vaccines against polio, measles, tetanus and diphtheria — which are the most common diseases among them,” he pledged. The local Church will also provide health care for pregnant women, he added.

Father Dong, 67, pastor of Thang Thien parish, said he will also provide scholarships and accommodation for students whose parents suffer from leprosy, so that they can receive further education. He noted that most children suffer malnutrition and few get an education as a result of poverty and many develop a complex about their situation. He said 70 students are currently staying at hostels run by local Saint Paul de Chartres nuns and 10 others have recently graduated from local colleges or universities. Father Dong said the diocese, covering Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces, serves 3,570 patients out of a diocesan total of 7,000 leprosy sufferers. Most of them are from ethnic minority groups, he added.

The priest said 150 caritas workers, Religious and lay volunteers take patients to state-run hospitals for treatment, build houses for them and provide clothes, clean water and food for them. The sufferers and their families are also given money to cultivate crops and raise pigs, cows and poultry, he added. He said the diocese spent 3.5 billion dong (US$184,892) on those activities in 2009.

Ama Pua, a former sufferer, told UCA News that he is grateful to Church workers who helped cure him of his disease and covered his three children’s school fees. The ethnic Jarai man now works with local Franciscans taking sufferers to hospitals.
No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Mozlink’ for any or all of the articles/images placed here. The placing of an article does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

No comments: