The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Monday, April 25, is World Malaria Day, a time when athletes, musicians, actors and actresses, faith leaders and many more advocates around the world will join together to call attention to fight against malaria. This day provides an important opportunity to raise awareness about a deadly disease that half of the world’s population faces every day. Since I returned from a semester studying abroad in Kenya and Tanzania in 2014, I have been engaged in the fight against malaria through the partnership between the Religious Action Center and Nothing But Nets.
Prior to my time in Kenya and Tanzania, I only knew about malaria from a parasitology class that I took in college, but did not understand the vast impact it has on 3.2 billion people at risk of contracting this disease. While in Kenya and Tanzania, I slept peacefully under a bed net every night and took anti-malarial pills each morning. As I slept each night, I knew that many of my friends and neighbors around me did not have the same privilege of being protected from the deadly bite of a mosquito. In 2015, malaria, a disease that is completely preventable and treatable, caused 214 million illnesses and 438,000 deaths. After my semester abroad, I realized I must to work to change this, because no one should die from malaria.
The Religious Action Center and Nothing But Nets have had a partnership since 2007, engaging Reform Jewish congregations across the country in the fight against malaria. As a Reform Jewish community, we are motivated to do this work because we are taught, “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9). Each bed net has the potential to be a life saved, and one step closer to ending malaria deaths in our lifetime. The Reform Movement has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and taken nearly 10,000 individual advocacy actions, including action alerts, calls to Members of Congress and in-district advocacy visits. Through all of this we have engaged hundreds of Reform synagogues.
There are many ways to spread awareness of malaria through fun and engaging activities. As a Religious Action Center and Nothing But Nets Malaria Fellow, I engaged my fellow students at Hamilton College on World Malaria Day through a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a “Bottles for Bed Nets” fundraising event.
This year, World Malaria Day falls during Passover, a time when we celebrate the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and our liberation. Passover reminds us of our responsibility to the many people around the world, who must face the fear of contracting this deadly disease as they fall asleep each night. There are many ways to get involved on World Malaria Day. You can join Nothing But Nets’ Million Nets Pledge and for just $10 you can send a life saving net to a family in need. Additionally, take action and urge your Member of Congress to support funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fights HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.