Mekala Sivamma currently lives in the Prakasam district in India. She shares her story of battling leprosy and the social stigmas that come with the disease.

I was 18 years old when I was diagnosed with leprosy. I still married and gave birth to two children. My husband and eldest son do not have the disease. My youngest son passed away when he was ten years old due to complications caused by diarrhea. My eldest is married and is living a healthy life with his family, which is such a blessing.

For almost 20 years, I begged in the streets and market centers for my livelihood. During that time my relatives and community shunned me because of my disease. Even my son left us and lived separately with his wife. It was in this condition that AMG International national leaders found me and helped me. They showed real love and displayed God’s compassion to my family, by giving us a free monthly ration of rice, lentils, cooking oil, and soap. Each Christmas, I also received a Bundle of Love with unique gifts, including new shoes and a new dress for the year. For the past ten years, I have not begged once for food, and I have gained my dignity back as a human being.

AMG staff regularly visited our home and spent time with us. They were never afraid to be with me, and their friendship with me and my husband helped me feel like a person again. Three years ago, AMG India gave us financial help to start our own shop, and now we can provide for ourselves without taking the monthly rations AMG provides. It is such a blessing to feel like we have been able to take back control over our lives as a result of the assistance AMG has provided.

Now our relatives, including my son and his family, are coming to our house. Neighbors invite us to events in the community, and we are living with dignity. We have become independent and self-supportive.

If it hadn’t been for AMG national leaders entering into our lives, I would most likely still be begging in the streets to survive, and I would not know the love of Jesus Christ. Because of AMG’s faithful and loving service, I am a believer, and I stand as a witness of the goodness of God in our community. We share our testimony with those who come to our shop, and we regularly go to church and engage with our congregation.

We are so grateful to AMG and their faithful partners who gave us our life back.

With lots of love,

Mekala Sivamma

If you would like to learn more about our ministry to leprosy victims in India, you can visit our website at amginternational.org/leprosy-victims/. Thank you so much for your continued financial and prayer support in helping to meet people’s deepest spiritual and physical needs.