Poles want to help lepers in India

Students from Poznan, west-central Poland, want to rebuild a home for lepers in India on the centenary of the birth of Fr. Marian Zelazek. A native of Poznan, he was a missionary who for years headed a leper colony in Puri, India.

Marian Zelazek was born on January 30, 1918 in Paledzie, near Poznan.

The Poznan Foundation for Humanitarian Aid, "Redemptoris Missio", has joined in fundraising efforts for this goal. 

"Since the very beginning of its existence, the foundation has provided medical support to the activities of Fr. Zelazek, and after his death, our volunteers continue to travel to India, where they bind the wounds of those afflicted by leprosy, and offer their medical experience,"  said the founder, Justyna Janiec-Palczewska.

The beatification process of the Polish missionary will begin in the coming months, and, in India, preparations are underway for the celebration of the centennial of his birth.

Next week, a group of students from the Economics University in Poznan are leaving for Puri to take part in a voluntary-study programme. They are paying for their own way, but at the same time they would like to fund one of the homes for lepers.

"Father Marian Zelazek visited leprosy patients living in extreme poverty, in small huts.  Rainwater often poured into the huts and unhygienic living conditions made their wounds even worse. Seventy-five of these houses were rebuilt by Fr. Zelazek, but over the years all buildings were destroyed," the students wrote about their undertaking.

A collection of funds for the "House for a Hundredth Birthday" is taking place on the zrzutka.pl web portal; nearly PLN 10,000 (EUR 2,400) has been collected there so far. About PLN 25,000 (EUR 6,000) is needed to cover the cost of construction. Contributions can also be made to Redemptoris Missio.

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