Leprosy work in Nepal Speaker Dr Maggie Burgess
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Dr Margaret Burgess, founder of “Promise Nepal” for leprosy sufferers, is among the winners of the Catholic Women of the Year award.
Dating back 40 years, the award scheme aims to honour “unsung heroines” across the Church in England and Wales. After nominations were collected, the winners were chosen by secret ballot by a committee made up of various Catholic groups and organisations.
This year, the founders of charities in Kenya and Nepal, a youth work leader and a sacristan have been announced as the Catholic Women of the Year.
Margaret Burgess – known as Maggie – grew up in Canada and trained as a nurse. She qualified as an open-heart intensive care nurse and spent several years working in Saudi Arabia, organising trips to Nepal in her spare time. She has been travelling to Nepal on a regular basis over the last 35 years.
While studying for a Diploma in Tropical Nursing Maggie learned that leprosy, a curable disease, was still endemic in Nepal. Realising that something had to be done, Maggie founded Promise Nepal, a charity aimed at helping to provide medicine, education and rehabilitation for those affected by leprosy.
Ten years on, the charity has achieved great things: completed projects include the major refurbishment of hospital buildings and the establishment of regular clinics for those suffering from the disease. The charity has also raised public awareness about leprosy and improved education, thus increasing early diagnosis.
Maggie’s latest project is the restoration of the oldest intact traditional Sherpa house to create a museum, preserving the traditional Sherpa way of life. To date, the project has raised in excess of £50,000.