My trip was not primarily a fund-raising exercise, but I did want to take the opportunity to raise awareness of the work of a couple of charities: The Leprosy Mission and Deaf Studies Trust.
I have long been interested in
leprosy, from when,as a teenager, I read a book 'Scalpel and Cross in
Honan' by Caspar Skinsnes, a leprosy missionary doctor (and some distant
relative). On being newly qualified as a physiotherapist, I applied
to the VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) to work in a leprosy hospital
in Niger, but the post was already taken and, anyway, I needed to have post-qualification experience.
My second charity is the Deaf Studies Trust for whom, previously, I worked as Trust Officer. They have undertaken life-changing work with elderly deaf people through the provision of videophones in their homes, opening up their often solitary, isolated world by enabling them to communicate with other signing people, both deaf and hearing. This facility does not only include social contact with family and friends, but also provides access to the emergency and medical services, as well as to all facilities involving hearing people, via online interpreting agencies.