History of NLT
NLT’s journey began 50 years ago in 1972, when a small UK charity was established to support Eileen Lodge’s work in Kathmandu amongst people affected by leprosy. This same work in Kathmandu continues today through NLT’s fair-trade workshops, social support schemes for vulnerable people, and the child-sponsorship scheme which many of you support. Alongside that, our Kathmandu office (pictured right) provides a vital interface with the Government of Nepal that enables the work to continue. NLT was set up formally as an NGO in Nepal in 1991, and became the platform for establishing NLT’s main project, Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre, in south-east Nepal (pictured below). Lalgadh Hospital was officially opened 25 years ago, in November 1996, and has rapidly grown to become one of the busiest leprosy centres in the world, with many thousands of people coming for help each year.
Our widespread work in the Terai (plains) villages of southern Nepal, in the districts close to Lalgadh, has given us a window into the lives of many people who are extremely poor and vulnerable. A network of relationships and self-help groups has developed, helping many families in a variety of ways, including lifesaving support. Part of that work—the Village Alive programme—has so far enabled 14 Dalit communities to be greatly transformed: with real improvements in terms of health, education, and hygiene, and reductions in depression and alcoholism. Five more villages have recently joined this exciting programme.
We are so grateful for our God-given opportunity to be involved at the ‘sharp end’ of the leprosy problem, and the poverty problem, taking ‘Kingdom values’ into situations that seemed to be without hope, and assisting broken people to discover that their lives can be rebuilt. We are so grateful for all of you who have shared this journey with us and helped to make it possible—in some cases over many years—and have been part of the ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs that have characterized it. We are hugely grateful for our colleagues in Nepal who have been at the more uncomfortable and exacting side of this work, using the resources that you have provided, and supported by the prayers that you have made. Between us all, we have shown that attitudes towards leprosy can be changed, and lives stripped of dignity, by stigma and fear, and relegated to the very edges of community, can be brought back into the centre of things—with dignity and hope restored.
Underlying all of this has been God’s faithfulness and His commitment to minister to the poor, to set the prisoners free, to heal the broken-hearted, and to change lives. And He has indeed changed many lives!