The United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign launched a worldwide fundraiser challenge today to raise money to send lifesaving bed nets to refugee camps in Africa, where malaria is the number one killer of refugees. Supporters are holding hundreds of fundraisers across the country in the lead-up to World Malaria Day on April 25, 2009. Individuals can view where events are happening worldwide on a new Google map feature at www.NothingButNets.net/WorldMalariaDay. People can get on the map by registering their event and can also learn more about the delivery of nets to refugees in Africa.
“After returning from Uganda where I helped distribute nets to refugees, I am thankful to all of our supporters and partners who are joining us to help send nets and save lives,” said Elizabeth Gore, executive director of Nothing But Nets. “I saw firsthand how these lifesaving bed nets help provide hope to parents who are struggling to keep their children safe. For just $10, a person can help keep a young refugee safe from malaria-carrying mosquitoes while they sleep.”
During a kick-off Nothing But Nets fundraising event in Seattle’s West Lake Park today, community members had the opportunity to take a free soccer kick against Seattle Sounders FC athlete Sanna Nyassi, and shoot basketball with the Seattle Storm mascot, Doppler, in exchange for a $10 donation. Representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Seattle Sounders FC, the WNBA Storm, the Bellevue public school system, and the Union for Reform Judaism attended the event, where the month of April was officially proclaimed “Nothing But Nets Month” in Seattle, on behalf of Mayor Greg Nickels.
Around the country, hundreds of events are currently happening, or are scheduled to take place, from now until World Malaria Day on April 25. These include:
- a student-run Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser in Middle Westfield, Mass., which raised $3,000;
- an annual shooting contest and silent auction that 12-year-old Kevin Vernimb from New Jersey hosted as part of his town’s recreation basketball family day;
- a free dress week at the Rancho Solano Private Schools in Scottsdale, Ariz., where seventh graders hope to raise $5,000;
- a benefit concert at Western Washington University organized by students Ashley Vance and Jordon Smith;
- a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at La Jolla Country Day High School in LaJolla, Calif.; and
- a penny drive organized by Amy Eckley, a teacher at South Hill Elementary in Ithaca, N.Y.
Over 630,000 African refugees have been displaced due to the spreading crisis in Darfur and other regional crises. Due to inadequate shelter, unsanitary living conditions, and lack of medical care and supplies, refugees are particularly susceptible to contracting malaria and dying from the disease. As the next rainy season approaches, the need for bed nets in these camps is more urgent than ever.
Through its partnership with UNHCR, Nothing But Nets has already successfully delivered more than 150,000 bed nets to cover four refugee camps in Kenya and two camps in Uganda. That translates to over $1.5 million raised by its supporters, and brings the campaign halfway to its goal of sending 275,000 nets by World Malaria Day. The funds raised by supporters during this month’s fundraising challenge will make it possible to send the remaining nets to refugees in Uganda, Sudan, and Tanzania.
To check out more fundraisers, visit www.NothingButNets.net/WorldMalariaDay to view the interactive Google map, which highlights events taking place worldwide.
About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, tens of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, the people of The United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated. It costs just $10 to provide a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net to prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.
To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $25 million and distributed over 2.5 million nets to children and families in Africa. One bed net can protect a family of four for up to five years.