Co-worker Heidi Hyte was in India last month volunteering at Rising Star Outreach and representing Reading Horizons through training helpers who teach English reading skills. Rising Star Outreach is making a difference by providing opportunities for both old and young people to break out of the stigma, isolation, and chains of leprosy in that country.

Heidi’s excursion has been fascinating to follow. She even “hung out” with David Archuleta, who happened to be over there at the same time providing charitable support for RSO. Additionally former NBA star Shawn Bradley, recently returned from the leprosy colonies after taking his family with him volunteering.

Rising Star Outreach is the result of one woman's tragedy turned towards a people and country that her deceased daughter cared about. Through three initiatives -- childhood education, micro business loans, and mobile medical clinics – Becky Douglas’ growing resource-gathering is making a tremendous difference in many lives. Suffering is eased, needed knowledge and skills are accessible. Now hope and literacy thrives.

As readers we can learn about people around the world and begin to understand the possibilities that open up by joining together even our smallest efforts.

Reading can become a type of lifeline for these people. The situation in India is a good example of this literacy initiative.

From RSO"Leprosy is curable. Rising Star Outreach seeks to defeat it. Even so, people who have contracted leprosy must often spend their lives completely isolated from society, although they may have been cured. They, and members of their families, sometimes find it impossible to marry, receive education or find work. An estimated 100 million people worldwide are victims of this discrimination. In India there are over 700 ‘leprosy colonies’ where the stigma of leprosy is inevitably perpetuated. If caught early enough, leprosy can be stopped before it ravages a body and ruins a life."

Becky Douglas is working to help millions of people devastated more by fear and ignorance than the curable diseases they face. You can give hope too! Tell us how your family works to make your community a better place. How do you promote education and literacy at home or abroad?