April 20, 2015
About 28 people living with leprosy at Utale 2 in Malawi’s Balaka district were all smiles on Sunday after a humanitarian grouping, Friends of Balaka, donated assorted food and non-food items worth over 400 thousand kwacha.
Chairperson of the grouping, Davison Kumpama, said people living with leprosy at Utale often live in deprived conditions because most people and organisations neglect them.
“We thought of rendering a helping hand to people living at Utale lepra village because they seem neglected and lack many basic needs,” Kumpama said.
He said relatives abandoned most of them and currently depend on the Catholic Church for their daily needs thereby putting pressure on the church.
Receiving the donation on behalf of the lepers, Father Dominic Chikankheni, said it is not easy to take care of the needs of the lepers as the cost of living is high.
“We welcome any assistance for our friends with leprosy. Of course leprosy was eradicated in Malawi but new cases of recurring and we are treating as well as feeding them daily,” Chikankheni said.
He said its not easy to procure medication for the people and called upon well wishers to come forward.
MP for Balaka South, Frank Mapondo, said ministry of gender, disability and children welfare should extend its programmes to the people affected with leprosy at Utale.
“We wished if the social cash transfer was extended to these people because they are ultra poor with no known means of income,” Mapondo said.
Minister of gender, disability and children welfare Patricia Kaliyati concurred with Mapondo saying there is a need to revisit the beneficiary list, hence social cash transfer program has already reached Balaka.
Kaliyati said:- “we are already implementing social cash transfer program in Balaka with support from Irish aid, and we will consider how tbis would extend to lepra village in Utale.”
The community of leprosy people was established by the late Bishop Alessandro Asollari of Mangochi Diocese at Utale2 to cater for people who were ravaged by leprosy and 28 people are still being cared for today.
Friends of Balaka donated maize flour, rice, sugar, soap, among other, worth over 400 thousand kwacha and later made a 50 thousand kwacha donation for construction of new Nkhalango mosque in Balaka.
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