The sobering statistic is by now well known: Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria. Yet, despite malaria being a preventable and treatable disease, it continues to ravage millions of people around the world, most of them situated in Africa. Local communities in developing countries are determined to eradicate the crippling threat of malaria, but making contact with large organizations that donate mosquito nets is challenging, and at times, entirely futile. This, however, hasn't deterred three Ugandan community based organizations from uniting their strengths and forging ahead with their fight to combat malaria. These communities have boldly launched an initiative from April 1 to 25 to roll back malaria in Uganda.
In the following text, NABUUR volunteer storyteller Kirsti Shields brings you the story of Zainah - a courageous young woman from Wakitaka whose story proves that mosquito nets save lives, and most importantly, hold the power to enable a future that may have earlier seemed bleak, if not entirely impossible.
"Eighteen year-old Zainah lies beside her young son listening to the whine of a mosquito.
Malaria runs rampant here, transmitted by mosquitoes that breed in Uganda’s wetlands. Pregnant women and young children are hit hardest - 85% of Uganda’s 350 daily deaths from malaria occur in children under 5. Malaria also takes a financial toll. Costly medical treatments drain family income. The sick miss school and work. Zainah´s father died from HIV/Aids and malaria treatment takes a considerable portion of the family’s income.
Fortunately for Zainah and her son, the mosquito’s bark is worse than its bite. Thanks to Tweet-a-Net, a fundraising collaborative of three Nabuur villages that provides free mosquito nets to vulnerable families in Wakitaka, Jinja Central and Mawoito villages, they now sleep easy.
Tweet-a-net harnesses the power of social networking-sites such as twitter to reach private donors. “Our goal is to reach 1000 families,” explains Nabuur facilitator and Tweet-A-Net organizer Maria Zandt. The repercussions for families like Zainah’s go beyond infection control, she adds. No longer impoverished by medical expenses, Zainah and her family can now invest precious funds in her youth-development group’s goat-rearing initiative that she started after dropping out of school together with the Wakitaka Youth Development Group. No longer too sick to walk to school, her son can join her friends at school and pursue his dream of studying medicine and perhaps, one day, eradicating malaria altogether. But until she succeeds, nets – and networks - work.
Just ask Zainah.”
For Zainah, her son, and the millions of people who fall victim to this preventable disease, we urge that you join the fight. There are plenty of ways to support the Tweet-A-Net campaign. To donate a mosquito net visit the TweetANet fundraising page here.
And if you feel motivated to help more, here are 10 easy things that you can do today!
Join the Tweet-A-Net Fan Page on Facebook to follow all the latest news and updates about our joint effort to raise funds for mosquito nets.
Tell your friends and share our posts on Facebook. Invite them to be a part of the event.
Become an Advocate for our project – advocates write up a short recommendation to voice support for what we are doing. Advocates are very important to get a higher ranking on the website and thereby more visitors.
5. If you have visited any of the projects in Mawoito, Jinja Central or Wakitaka – become a Visitor . Visitors are very important to our fundraiser because they help to validate that these are real projects helping real people on the ground in Uganda.
Email your friends and help us spread the word about our project.
Share the link to the fundraising project in your email signature.
Donate your instant messenger status update and help us publicize a link to the fundraiser.
Add a fundraising widget to your blog – you can do that directly from the Betterplace.org site by clicking on "Spread the Word".
Are you on Twitter? Help tweet and retweet messages – follow @tweetanet, @nabuur, @behod, @emmanuelmenya to watch our progress via Twitter.http://twitter.com/TweetANet
Don't forget - a mosquito net costs less than a cappuchino. Mosquito nets truly can save lives. Join us April 1-25th and help us roll back malaria in Uganda!