There’s an old African proverb; ‘If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito’.
While mosquito means ‘little fly’ in Spanish, its size should not be underestimated as it’s one of the deadliest animals on the planet, with a bite that can be fatal. This small insect pierces the skin of its victim to feed on their blood, but while this can itch, it’s the diseases that can be transmitted that threaten millions of lives across the world and in Africa.
These diseases include the zika virus, dengue, yellow fever and malaria. Of these, malaria has the widest impact with 214 million cases and 438 thousand deaths recorded in 2015. 90% of deaths caused by malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa*, killing one child every minute.
However, these deaths could have been avoided with access to timely treatment. To mark World Malaria Day on Monday 25 April, we take a look at the impact of the disease on the communities where we help and provide a way that everyone, no matter how small, can make a difference.
If you live in the UK, like me, you will likely only have encountered mosquitoes when you’ve travelled. However, you’ll have been able to reduce your chances of catching malaria by choosing lower risk areas to visit and by taking anti-malarial medicines before, during and after your trip, amongst other precautions. As a result, it’s unlikely that you will ever experience the headaches, fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting and convulsions that are some of the symptoms of malaria.
In Zimbabwe, malaria is seasonal, coinciding with the rainy season between November and March. It’s estimated that there are around 400 thousand cases of infection and around 300 deaths from malaria each year**.
Most mosquitoes feed at dawn, dusk and a few hours into the night. Mosquito nets are the most effective way to protect children from bites while they’re sleeping. However, even where the children have nets, they frequently experience mosquito bites as they’re often helping with chores before school, or in the evening, such as collecting water or firewood.
The children we help in Zimbabwe can’t choose where they live or afford to pay for expensive anti-malarial drugs. If they do get infected with malaria, the costs of travelling to the nearest medical centre and receiving the appropriate medication can be unaffordable.
Just like a mosquito is never too small to spread malaria, your donation is never too small to make a difference. Through child sponsorship, you’re able to provide access to much needed treatment when children fall ill from malaria. This helps them recover and get back to school.
So while some may think that sponsoring a child is ‘just a small thing’, it makes a huge difference to their education, health, future outcomes and opportunities. Please consider sponsoring a child today.
If you already sponsor one of the children we support, I would like to thank you on behalf of all of us at Creating Better Futures.
*Per WHO 2015 Malaria Report
**Per Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat)
If you’d like to make a difference to children we support, you can;
- Volunteer in the UK and Zimbabwe
- Help with admin, digital marketing and fundraising in our Reading office
- Help teach, construct boreholes, classrooms and toilets in Zimbabwe
- Promote us at your church, club, school and work
- Organise activities and events using our fundraising ideas
- Fundraise for us or donate at JustGiving
- Ask people who support your fundraising event to sign a Gift Aid form; the government gives 25p extra for every £1 you raise so we get £1.25
- Sponsor a child for £15 a month to give them skills, vision and motivation
- Have fun choosing items to fill a shoebox and the joy of opening one lasts forever
- Purchase from retailers at easyfundraising; we get a percentage of what you spend
- Take advantage of retailer discounts at Savoo and we get a donation from every purchase you make
- Use easysearch to search the Internet, instead of Google, so we benefit
- Promote us by liking and sharing our blogs, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter posts
- We work with Rotary International and our projects are overseen by Rotary Club of Harare