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Jasmine lends HANDA a hand in China
30 Mar 14

Auckland childcare teacher Jasmine Ye has recently returned from an eye-opening trip to her old hometown of Guangzhou in Southern China.

As an ethnic community volunteer for The Leprosy Mission in New Zealand, she used her time in China to participate in activities with HANDA, who are Leprosy Mission NZ’s partner in China and visited Sian village where many people affected by leprosy live. She shares her experience with InTouch readers.

HANDA’s work in Southern China raises money and support “Before I volunteered for the Leprosy Mission, I had never heard of HANDA, even though I come from the same city. I was pretty amazed at how they support the leprosy villages.

HANDA not only gives direct financial support but also helps villagers to earn an independent living. Some of their projects include planting fruit trees in the leprosy villages and teaching villagers how to keep bees.

I became involved in one of HANDA’s diverse fundraising events when I volunteered for their Longan (a popular fruit tree in Asia) charity auction. Successful bidders had the opportunity to pick Longans from the Longan trees in Sian leprosy village.

On picking day, families and company groups had fun picking up Longans, and also visited people with leprosy to give them warm greetings and presents. Everyone enjoyed and benefited from this event, including myself.”

A villager who is blind recites the Bible

“I’d never met people affected by leprosy before, so it was a very special experience for me. One 70-year-old man was blind because of leprosy. Every day he listens to bible lessons read to him by staff and other patients. He is able to recite several verses of Psalms and many other chapters of the Holy Bible. He told me how, because of leprosy, his family had abandoned him when he was young. However, he didn’t complain. He said he was satisfied with his life in Sian and is so grateful to God for bringing Christian carers to look after him. He is also thankful for the support from HANDA and other organisations and very happy for every visit from volunteers like me. I was amazed by his gratitude and positive attitude towards life. His story was so inspiring that I shared it with my church (Greenlane Presbyterian Church) when I came back to New Zealand.”

Revisiting the work of HANDA

“It was incredible to meet the HANDA team in the city I am from – Guangzhou - participate in their charity activities and visit Sian village. I learned a lot and I'm looking forward to volunteering more for The Leprosy Mission and HANDA. I believe every little bit you are able to give to a charity makes a big difference.”