Embrace A Village: Giving Shoes, Prosthetic Legs, Nutrition & Hope to People With Leprosy

You know that feeling after you witness an injustice and your heart burns for change? Well, that's exactly what happened to Joe Clendenny, the founder of Embrace a Village.

He visited this closed country in southern Asia in 2002 and witnessed the incredible hardships that people with leprosy face every single day. After he got home, he couldn't talk about his trip without tears streaming down his face.

He realized that a person could not "unsee" the effects of this ravaging disease.

He couldn't forget the wounds, the shame, and the aching loneliness that was nearly tangible on the people's faces.

Check out this powerful video here

Leprosy attacks the nerves and causes limbs to lose sensation, so people must have foot covering to protect their feet. If a person gets a cut or a bite and it's left untreated, it causes ulcers, and a vicious cycle ensues. It can lead to gangrene and even amputation and causes extreme pain for the person.

Unfortunately, it is common for society to treat those with leprosy as outcasts. Then the patients can't get jobs and don't have funds to buy footwear to protect themselves against infection.

After seeing this reality for himself, Joe, along with Anil Kumar, the Operating Director for Embrace a Village, started dreaming a God-sized dream to share the Gospel and provide custom footwear and medical assistance in these colonies. Today, Joe, Anil, and their 50 member team serve over 4,000 people every month.

Shoes that are changing lives

Each shoe is made by Embrace a Village shoemakers and fitted for each patient's foot size and type of wound. They provide shoes at no cost to the patient. After the initial fitting, the shoemaker constructs the shoe at the Embrace a Village base, then returns to the colony to size the shoe. He returns to the base one more time for final stitching, and then finally, after a lot of care and attention, the shoes are delivered back to the patient.

Since the beginning of the ministry in 2003, they have provided over 14,000 pairs of custom shoes!

But EAV does much more than custom footwear. They also provide hospice care so that people can spend their final days with people who love them. EAV also shares the message of Jesus Christ with them. However, after they built the hospice center, Joe and Anil quickly realized that once people receive proper nutrition, medication, and experience God's love, many start recovering! So, Embrace a Village built a rehab center for patients who experience healing!

EAV wanted to give people a fresh start, so they also created sustainable farming projects to teach people how to generate income by taking the goods to market to sell.

It's truly amazing to watch someone who has been devastated by leprosy, regain strength, and experience a feeling of purpose in their life.

Someone like Saroja.

Saroja is very special to the Embrace a Village family. She was living outside the leprosy colony when they first met her. She had lost her left leg to amputation six years prior and needed urgent medical care for her right foot.

The team made arrangements to take her to a private hospital to perform a second amputation. After the surgery, Saroja was released from the hospital and is currently recovering at Embrace A Village. As you can see from the picture below, she is such a joyful person!

Over the past 15 years, a solid foundation has been laid for the Embrace a Village ministry; however, they believe God has much more in store. Their heart is to continue providing the highest quality food, medication, and footwear for the villagers, and we invite you to partner with this incredible ministry. 

Curious how to get involved?

EAV currently operates on a $30,000 per month budget and seeks to raise an additional $10,000. You can financially support Embrace a Village by clicking here.

Overview of Embrace a Village's Mission:

EAV believes that there is a redemption story for each person. Their mission is to serve those affected by leprosy holistically through spiritual, medical, nutritional, and educational programs.

The primary goal continues to be sharing God's love in the villages. The secondary mission is to administer weekly medical care and medical packets and to teach patients how to care for their wounds. The team provides rice and after-school tutoring for family members, and patients also receive custom footwear to guard against infection.