Note: If you are interested in the lastest news about this project go to http://www.bethecause.org/hopeheartandlove
I am writing to let you all know about a very special project that our organization, Be the Cause is undertaking. This is a project in collaboration with two other non-profit organizations: The Power of Love and the Health Education Africa Resource Team (HEART). Together we are creating, purchasing and distributing malaria nets, made outside of Nairobi which will be distributed from the Akado Clinic to the community in Mbita, Kenya. I am writing to enlist your support and help.
This project is truly amazing, as it combines the resources of these three organizations for a combined effect of providing income to women and their families and in addition, providing malarial prevention nets to small children. As you may know, three members of Be the Cause after visiting South Africa this last December, went on to Mbita, Kenya, where they volunteered with the Akado clinic for several weeks. While there they administered a health survey to members of the community. At the end of their project they concluded that there are not enough malaria nets available for the children of the community. Although, the Kenyan government has a program to supply, at no cost, treated malaria nets to the clinic, the shipments of nets to the clinic are both unpredictable and sporadic. So, after their return to the United States there was some discussion among the Be the Cause volunteers. It was decided to begin a new project to buy and ship malaria nets to the Akado clinic.
Once, this was decided the next step was to find a supplier of the nets. Here is where serendipity entered the picture. I believe moments of synchronicity in oneâ€™s life, although they may seem coincidental to some, are true moments of grace, gifts from the universe not to be ignored. A month ago, at Hope University at an Amnesty International Conference concerning womenâ€™s rights I met a professor, Dr. Mutanga. While chatting, I learned he runs a foundation in Kenya. We arrived at the topic of malaria during the course of the conversation and I mentioned Mbita and the survey results. From this encounter he connected me with a woman named Vickie Winkler, from the organization HEART, who runs a project in Kenya called WEEP. WEEP is an acronym for the Women Equality Empowerment Project. Coincidentally, the WEEP project is in its initial stages as it began only a few months ago. The WEEP project currently consists of HIV positive women, who are widows because their husbands have died of AIDS. These newly widowed women are desperately trying to support their families, most having four to five children at home. They are now employed by WEEP and several times a week work to make malaria bed nets for HEART, providing needed income for themselves and their families.
So, with that solved how to get the nets from Nairobi to Mbita and distribute them? For this significant, logistical portion of the plan Alka Subramanian and the Power of Love volunteered their services. Power of Love currently sends funds to the Akado clinic, and kindly offered to transport the nets from Nairobi to Mbita. Alka also suggested holding a health clinic day organized by the women of the Akado Medical Center to educate the recipients about malaria prevention and hand out the nets. The nets will be distributed to grandmothers raising their orphaned grandchildren and pregnant mothers with children under 5 years of age. A portion of the day will be a focused discussion on ways to prevent malaria transmission. Malaria is as serious a killer in Africa as HIV/AIDS. Both are pandemic problems that need and deserve the rest of the worldâ€™s attention and aid. In Mbita malaria is the number one cause of death.
The wonderful thing about this project is that it has a two fold benefit. It both provides income for widows who have lost their husbands to AIDS and also provides bed nets for children in Mbita to prevent malaria infection.
Currently an order for ninety two nets has been made. These were paid from by funds left over from a collection for Africa, made by the South African travelers this last year and a few other donors. Each net costs eight U.S. dollars. These nets will be picked up in the near future and brought to Mbita. Although, this may seem like a small number I have been told it is not, and that it will be very helpful to the community. With this in mind, how wonderful it would be to provide even more nets on a regular basis.
Future of this Project
I find it another wonderful coincidence that an arrangement of the names of the organizations involved form such an inspiring message â€” Be the Cause, through Heart, Hope and the Power of Love.
My hope, and my belief, is that we can continue this project on a regular basis, buying, transporting and distributing these nets to Mbita. If anyone would like to make donations or if you have additional ideas on how to raise additional funds please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at http://www.bethecause.org.
700,000 children die in Africa each year from Malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said for years the incidence of death could be greatly reduced if children under 5 slept under treated bed nets. Malaria season is in full swing by June.
â€œHumankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.â€
â€“ Native American Saying