Samoa has a number of new leprosy cases each year and many former leprosy patients who suffer from serious disabilities. Awareness and understanding of leprosy are improving although the message that leprosy is curable and help is available is not yet totally widespread.
For the last five years Peter Bendinelli (pictured left) has been our Field Supervisor in Samoa. He oversees our welfare programme and ensures that patients needing medical treatment are able to get to the clinic. What started out as a few hours a week of volunteer work has expanded into many hours each week supervising housing, income generation and welfare projects, paying school fees and checking progress of the students and regular visits to the many current and former leprosy patients and their families.
We also work in New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Fiji, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
Lafaele has serious disabilities of his hands and has had both legs amputated as a result of leprosy. However, he is still able to work on his plantation with the help of special tools supplied by the Foundation.
This man suffered from leprosy for years, believing that there was no cure and that he was being “punished” by God. After a year of treatment, his appearance is vastly improved although he suffers from disabilities caused by nerve damage from leprosy.
Amosa (centre) is the first person ever in his extneded family to graduate from the National University of Samoa’s Institute of Technology where he has been studying refrigeration for the past two years. He already has a good job and will be able to help his family financially as well as being an inspiration to his younger siblings. His mother and grandfather had both suffered from leprosy.
The Foundation builds traditional houses for patients as this is what works best in their culture and climate. Here, a traditional fale has been improved with the addition of a kitchen and bathroom.