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Reform Jewish Rabbi Travels to Kenya to Distribute Anti-Malaria Bed Nets

More than 128,000 insecticide-treated bed nets delivered to four Kenyan refugee camps before rainy season

Contact: Kate Bigam
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

DADAAB, KENYA and WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2009 —Rabbi Marla Feldman, director the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, traveled to Kenya this week as part of the Reform Jewish Movement’s participation in the Nothing But Nets campaign, a global, grassroots initiative to prevent malaria.

Accompanying Feldman were two active Reform Jewish community leaders and a representative from the United Nations Foundation. Together, the group joined the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in distributing 128,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets to more than 273,000 refugees in four Kenyan camps before the summer’s rainy season.

“We are thankful to join the UNHCR and the UN Foundation on this trip to see first-hand the impact of malaria on these refugee camps,” Rabbi Feldman said. “It is difficult for the families living in these camps, and with just a $10 donation, we are able to help protect against malaria and offer these parents some piece of mind as they sleep at night with their children.”

Adrianna Logalbo, deputy director of Nothing But Nets, joined Feldman on the trip. “As I help distribute nets here in Dadaab camp, I am thankful to the thousands of individuals who have donated as little as $10 to send these life-saving bed nets,” Logalbo said. “The refugees I’ve met with have survived displacement, discrimination and sometimes war - they should not then die of a malaria infection caused by a mosquito bite.”

In September 2008, the United Nations identified an immediate and urgent need for 275,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets for refugees living in 27 refugee camps in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania, where the malaria burden is highest among African camps.  The Reform Jewish community has prioritized the elimination of malaria and raised thousands in local events, online and at conventions and gatherings for the campaign.

More than 630,000 refugees have been displaced as a result of the spreading crisis in Darfur and other regional crises. As the next rainy season approaches, those living in refugee camps-the majority of whom are women and children-are now threatened by malaria, the number one killer of refugees in Africa.  

The UN Foundation, through Nothing But Nets, has issued an emergency fundraising appeal to raise the funds necessary to provide these life-saving nets. Until World Malaria Day on April 25, 2009, all donations to Nothing But Nets will go to this effort. A life-saving bed net costs $10 to purchase, distribute and educate. One bed net can protect a family of four. To donate and to learn more, visit www.urj.org/nets.



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