What is Hansen’s Disease and how does the Damien House fit in?

According to the World Health Organization, Hansen’s disease, more commonly known as Leprosy, was contracted by 211,009 people in 2017 alone. Hansen’s is a chronic infectious disease affecting the eyes, skin, and upper respiratory tract. Many misconceptions surround the disease which makes it difficult for people to be diagnosed and receive treatment. Even though the disease is curable it often goes mis-diagnosed or untreated for too long. If caught early it can be completely curable and the loss of feeling, limbs, and other effects completely avoided. Many people have been cured of Leprosy and gone on to lead long lives – even in the medical profession!  This is not just a problem in other countries, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 178 new cases were discovered in the United States in 2015. The stigma and lack of information is the hardest battle for care-takers and health organizations aimed at eradicating the disease.

About The Damien House, Located in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Damien House aims to provide dignity to its residents battling leprosy.  The home provides around the clock care for over 30 in-house residents and free medical care for their impressive 700 outpatients. Through donations they are able to stay open and running. They take many people who have become ostracized and welcome them with open arms. 

 

The Damien House, our new partner, is a care center and outreach for people infected and affected by leprosy. They battle not only the disease but the stigma and lack of information on the disease in Ecuador. They work with families and individuals to show them how to take the medication and care for their family members with the disease (sometimes as young as 14 years old). Their tireless efforts have gained them a reputation for fighting for patients, the cure, and helping save lives through sponsoring surgeries and helping patients get the care they need to recover from Hansens. Sister Anne, a nun from New York went to Ecuador over 3o years ago to teach preschool, little did she know a year later she would be advocating for care and love for people with Hansens Disease. She is still advocating and working with government, care providers, surgeons, and volunteers to care for people who have contracted the disease. Sister Anne’s love for others keeps her going when the challenges seem insurmountable.  

While donations are a majority of their funding, many residents have various talents and skills they use to make arts and crafts. Visitors and volunteers purchase the crafts artfully made by the residents and patients. The stunning work not only provides a donation for the home but also provides a sense of purpose for the patients, an income, and a sense of pride. The kindness exemplified by the Damien House proves it will be a wonderful addition to our catalog of partners. We can’t wait to share their crafts with you! While this will be our first partnership with the Damien house we hope to help them develop their line of handmade items over time and create a long-term partnership with them that helps share their work, spread hope to their patients, and advocate for the care of people with Hansens Disease. 

This is one of their peace doves. It has been in the home of our founder, Rachel, for 14 years since her visit to Ecuador in 2005. You can expect to see a lot more of these online in the coming weeks and months!

How can you help?

Donate today through their website: 

www.thedamienhouse.org 

Shop on Amazon: 

smile.amazon.com – Select Damien House Inc as the charity of choice.

Follow them on social media: 

FACEBOOK: La Fundación Padre Damián

INSTAGRAM: @Damienhouseinc

Send Donations to : 

Damien House, Inc. c/o Suzanne Belz, President, 4407 North Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL 60630

Stay tuned for more products coming from the Damien House this fall! 

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