Our Address:

American Educational Development Inc.
P O Box 3305
Ramona, CA 92065-0957

Tim Ekno: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vanessa Ekno: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Among the poorest of the poor are people who suffer with a horrible disease called leprosy.  There is still a great deal of fear and ignorance about leprosy.  Those discovered with it are often rejected by family and society and end up living in horrible poverty on the outskirts, rejected by all and reduced to surviving by begging.

Tim and Vanessa Ekno were unaware of Leprosy’s existence in India and discovered large groups of people with bodies mangled by the disease and barely existing.   Their help began with giving some food and clothing and grew to providing access to clean drinking water and finding dignified ways to help them make a living without begging.

In the past, the Ekno’s have even purchased goats for each family to raise.  You can help make a difference in the lives of these dear people by your gifts.

Pastor Subash and his wife Sunita invited us into the pastor’s quarters of the new church building we were able to build in Bidar town.  Their faces glow with the place/room to have a church building of their own.  They are now praying about the name of the church.  

The dear people here, suffering from the effects of leprosy, is precious!  With donations, we were able to provide a prayer hall with an attached apartment for Pastor Christopher and family.  We were able to provide goats to each family to raise, as well as provide a complete water system, extending individual pipes to each home’s front porch.  

We are in the process of raising money for a prayer hall in this colony.  Presently, they meet to worship in the courtyard of the Hindu temple.  Moses has been the pastor in this colony for a couple of years now and doing a fine job.  God has enabled us to build three homes for some of the widows in this colony because theirs had collapsed.  We also raised money for a wall to be erected around their colony to stop the city from encroaching on their government given land.  Many blessed people here and we are excited to see what God will continue to do.  

Pastor Vijay and Hannah were very proud to show the progress on their children’s home “building”.  Currently, 40 children are sleeping in their small church building.  They are asking for immediate help for sleeping mats, pillows and blankets for the children as they’re sleeping just on the concrete right now with inadequate coverings.  Your gifts will help these children to sleep more comfortably.  

American Educational Development has helped this colony by providing  a deep bore well for clean drinking water as well as building a church building

American Educational Development has helped this colony by providing a deep bore well for clean drinking water as well as building the church building.

Amongst the poorest of the poor are those who suffer with a horrible disease called Leprosy. There is still a great deal of fear and ignorance of leprosy. Those who are discovered with Leprosy are often rejected by their families and society and end up existing in horrible poverty on the outskirts of society, rejected by all and existing only through begging. Tim and Vanessa weren't even aware Leprosy continued to afflict people until on a trip to India they discovered large groups of people whose bodies were mangled by the disease and barely existing. It began with helping with food and clothing, and has grown to trying to ensure they have access to drinking water and dignified way to earn a living. In 2006 we began with one village of people who were suffering with leprosy and purchased goats for each family to raise. You can help us make a difference in the lives of these dear souls through your gifts.

Leprosy (also known as Hansen’s Disease) is caused by a slow growing type of bacteria, “Mycobacterium Leprae.”   Leprosy is an acquired infectious disease involving the skin and nerves of infected individuals.  Pale patches on the skin are usually the first sign of the disease – they are painless and do not itch, so are often ignored by the patient.  It is not highly contagious and does not cause limbs to fall off.

In the past, nerve damage and other complications occurred as the disease progressed.  The numbness and lack of feeling in the limbs often led to festering wounds on the hands and feet, and then to the characteristic deformities of the face and limbs.  In many communities this led to stigma towards those affected and their families, causing them to be shunned and even excluded from everyday life.

Fortunately, antibiotics can now quickly kill the bacteria (germs) that cause leprosy, so the disease can be completely cured with a few months of treatment.  If this is started at an early stage, most patients need never suffer the terrible complications which used to be common.  Nerve damage does still occur in some patients, but it can often be reversed with other medical treatment.  When it cannot be reversed and the person remains with some disability, there are many different strategies of rehabilitation to help them live as normal a life as possible.


Leprosy is probably spread like the common cold, but is much less contagious than the cold, or influenza.  You really have to live for some years in an endemic area, where new cases of leprosy are continually being detected, to run the risk of catching it.


Leprosy remains endemic in poorer parts of the world.  Considering the impact of leprosy it is not only the numbers of new cases being detected and treated that has to be taken into account.  Many of those cured of the disease will have to live with the consequences of leprosy.  It is estimated that probably at least 3 million people are living with some permanent disability due to leprosy, although the exact figure is unknown.

Global statistics show that 95% of new leprosy cases were reported from 16 countries, and only 5% of new cases are from the rest of the world.  Pockets of high occurrence still remain in some areas of many countries but a few of these are only mentioned as reference:  Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania.  India is reported as having the highest incidence of Leprosy - 58% of the quarter million new cases in 2012.  134,752 new cases were detected in 2012-13.  On an average, every hour more than 15 new cases are diagnosed.  (newindianexpress.com – “India Accounts for 58 Percent of World’s Leprosy Cases).

Leprosy research was given a great boost when the genome of Mycobacterium Leprae was decoded.  This gives hope that more effective ways of managing the disease and its complications will be developed and that effective methods of prevention can be found.  In the meantime, efforts are being made everywhere to change attitudes, so that leprosy is seen as a disease like any other, treatable just as other diseases are.   


As a bacterial infection, leprosy can be very effectively treated with certain antibiotics; the bacillus can be easily killed.  If there has already been damage to the nerves, however, antibiotics alone will not restore function and other forms of treatment will be needed, including physiotherapy.

The first antibiotic to be widely used for leprosy was Dapsone, from around 1950 onwards.  Dapsone meant a major breakthrough for millions of patients, who, until then, had been considered incurable.  However, many patients still had to take the medicine for life.

In 1981, when resistance to Dapsone was becoming widespread, the WHO introduced Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) which consisted of two regimens:  Rifampin and Dapsone for PB (Paucibacillary – five or fewer lesions with no bacteria from a sample skin smear) leprosy; and Rifampin, Clofazimine and Dapsone for MB (Multibacillary – more than five lesions or bacteria present in skin smear sample, or both) leprosy.  MDT has been remarkably successful:  there have been very few side effects associated with its use and over 13 million people have been cured of leprosy following its introduction.  

A useful and detailed review article of Leprosy Treatment is available.  See ILEP.org.uk titled, “Learning Guide One”.









For information please email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Tim and Vanessa Ekno began working in Thailand in 1988 offering English courses and doing humanitarian aid.  After eight years in the remote hill tribe areas of north Thailand, they moved into Vietnam to continue their educational and humanitarian works.
  • In 1996, Tim and Vanessa Ekno founded American Educational Development as a tool for working in Vietnam.  AED is now used to assist in the development of educational and humanitarian programs throughout South Asia.  Presently, the Ekno’s (and AED) are working in India, attempting to help people suffering with Leprosy.  They work to make them feel accepted, cared for and respected by society.
  • The Ekno’s believe it important for the world to see compassion expressed in tangible ways to those who are in need.