When I moved to DC, I –like perhaps most other 20-somethings—imagined this place as a hub of both political thought and non-profit zeal. The coexistence of both worlds, all to change society. Lofty ideals, right? perhaps.
Ideal, meet Busboys and Poets, and friends and co-laborers in the fight for justice: Faiths Act, ONE, Malaria No More, and the 9/11 Unity Walk. Last night a handful of musicians and spoken-word artists united in faith and activism under a common cause: World Malaria Day concert for Sierra Leone.
Though malaria is not new to the African people, it is a serious and ongoing threat to the health of its inhabitants, especially children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that malaria is the 2nd leading cause of death from infectious diseases in Africa, right after HIV/AIDS. Further, UNICEF reports that in Sierra Leone, malaria accounts for 40 percent of all deaths for children under 5-years-old. Because of the country’s war-torn past and underdeveloped landscape, the mosquitos that carry the disease have fertile breeding grounds.
But the main thrust for engaging the fight against malaria is that it is a preventable disease.
In Sierra Leone, faith leaders in both Muslim and Christian communities are working together to train people in their local communities on preventative treatments, such as awareness, preventative medicines, and mosquito nets. With a goal of reaching 100,000 homes in June 2012, last night’s benefit concert served as a small way for one local community in DC to connect with brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone, in awareness-building and action.
Though we are not able to see first-hand the paths our money travels to assist those in need, we have hope that events like this not only raise funds, but fuel imaginations. That they remind people of the seriousness of treatable and preventable diseases like malaria. And we hope that more awareness spurs more action, and more action spurs more creativity to continue fighting, and maybe, eventually, conquer malaria.
Take a look at some of the incredible performances from the World Malaria Day concert at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C.
Nicole Higgins is the executive assistant at Sojourners and Joshua Witchger is the online assistant at Sojourners.
Dengue fever info-text. Via mrfiza / Shutterstock