“If you think you’re too small to make a difference you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito”.‐ African proverb
The figures are staggering. According to the World Health Organization: “About 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 214 million malaria cases and an estimated 438,000 malaria deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths. In areas with high transmission of malaria, children under 5 are particularly susceptible to infection, illness and death. More than two-thirds (70%) of all malaria deaths occur in this age group. In 2015, about 305,000 African children died before their fifth birthdays” making malaria the leading killer of children in Africa. (Source: WHO 2015 statistics).
Although these figures are frightening, what is even more shocking is that these deaths are entirely preventable. Per the World Health Organization, “Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 60% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2000”. This is amazing progress that brings hope that we will be able to wipe malaria off the face of the earth forever.
Eradicating malaria is the dream of South African-based Goodbye Malaria, an organization I interviewed to learn how a team of African entrepreneurs, predominantly women sprayers and socially minded businesses, are coming together to “save a life in your sleep” and eradicate malaria in their lifetime. Here’s their story.
Goodbye Malaria began as a dream of successful African entrepreneur, Robbie Brozin, founder of Nando’s food chain. Robbie traveled throughout the African continent with Humanitarian adventurer, Kingsley Holgate, who is known as the most traveled man in all of Africa. During their travels, Robbie realized that malaria was killing so many people and no one was doing anything about it. In fact, malaria is the number one killer of children in Africa, yet is entirely preventable.
Inspired to do good and fight to end malaria, Brozin along with three other African entrepreneurs founded Goodbye Malaria in February 2013. Goodbye Malaria helps to raise funds to support on the ground malaria elimination programs in Mozambique, to educate and advocate against malaria all while creating employment across the continent. Their beautiful online shop which sells products that “save a life in your sleep” offers African-made pajamas, bracelets, slippers, pencil boxes and teddy bears, all which employ local women and protect families in Mozambique against malaria.
How it works:
Goodbye Malaria employs a crew of both male and female sprayers (over 70% of the sprayers are women) who go house to house within the communities and spray the inside of the homes with a specially formatted insecticide to kill malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Goodbye Malaria provides extensive training for the sprayers whose job is not easy. They must wear heavy, protective uniforms and masks in often very hot weather. Yet, the job is rewarding and there has been much success. In Southern Mozambique’s Maputo Province, the results from a preliminary pilot project from the first Goodbye Malaria spray round started in October 2013 show that the population of Boane district has been protected for two consecutive years, and prevalence has been reduced by 70%.
Goodbye Malaria Women Sprayers
Although Goodbye Malaria is based in South Africa, South Africa does not have malaria. Mozambique was a logical place for Goodbye Malaria to start their work since it borders South Africa, has a high rate of malaria transmission, and also has special ties with the Nandos and Goodbye Malaria founder Robbie Brozin. Nando’s famous chicken originated in Mozambique. Their award-winning “peri-peri” sauce is made from red hot chilis grown there. Goodbye Malaria works directly with the government of Mozambique and other non-profit organizations on the ground in two large areas of the country. Roughly 200,000 people have been impacted by their work yet there is much more to do.
“Save a Life in your Sleep”:
Goodbye Malaria operates as a Social Benefit Organization (SBO) not a NGO (non-governmental organization) meaning in addition to outside funding, they also use profits from products to go directly to support their operations on the ground. Goodbye Malaria’s tagline is “Save a Life in your Sleep”. By shopping at Goodbye Malaria’s online store, your purchase helps in two ways. First, by creating jobs that support local South African entrepreneurs. Second, the proceeds directly fund the spray program in Mozambique.
The head of Goodbye Malaria’s merchandizing, Kim Lazarus explained that the products are all about changing lives and saving lives. There is a link between how woman in South Africa are making products that will make a difference in the lives of their sisters in Mozambique. It is a wonderful concept.
The online shop at Goodbye Malaria offers some wonderful products for sale and provides shipping right in the US. Every product is made in South Africa, and the products are 100% transparent, sustainable and ethically sourced.
Homemade “Shwe Shwe” pajama bottoms: Shwe Shwe is a popular South African fabric. It is bright, colorful and authentic. The idea behind the pajamas is that you are covered at night while someone else sleeps safely at night in Mozambique (as mosquitos mostly bite at night). They also make pencil boxes, hats, and slippers out of the same cotton fabric.
Teddy Bears: The homemade teddy bears are another special story. Each bear is unique and made by a different woman. The bears are called the “Mashozi” bear which means “the woman wears the pants”. The name came after Kinsley’s late wife who was an inspiration.
Bracelets: The Goodbye Malaria bracelets are made by the “go gos” – a term used for grannies who watch children who lost their parents from HIV/AIDS. Making the beads and bracelets provides them with extra income and they also involve the children in the process.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Skype call with co-founder Kim Lazarius. When I ended the call, I sat in wonder and amazement feeling completely inspired that there are such amazing people in the world doing good and saving lives, with passion. I instantly ordered a pair of Goodbye Malaria pajama bottoms for myself for the holidays. When I wear them, I can think about how fortunate I am to not have to worry about malaria but also that I’m hopefully saving a life while I sleep.
To learn more about Goodbye Malaria, click here. To view their online shop, click here.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nicole Melancon of ThirdEyeMom.com.
As a travel blogger, I am always looking for new ways to give back and just last week at a conference I learned about a fabulous organization called Passports with Purpose. Passports with Purpose was founded in 2008 by four travel writers, Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy as a way to build community among travel bloggers and to give back to places travelers visit. Each year, Passports with Purpose holds an annual fundraiser during a two-week period in November and December for a new charity.
Past Passports with Purpose fundraisers have benefited such fabulous NGOs and initiatives as Heifer International; the Passports School with American Assistance for Cambodia; a village in Tamil Nadu, India for 25 Dalit families with Land for Tillers’ Freedom; two libraries in Zambia with Room to Read; five wells in Haiti with Water.org; two schools and two adult literacy programs in Mali with buildOn; and, in 2014, five communities in Honduras with Sustainable Harvest.
This year, Passports with Purpose is working to bring digital reading to five libraries in Kenya with Worldreader, a US, European and African-based nonprofit organization that provides e-books, reading and literacy in the developing world. Their mission is to unlock the potential of millions of people through the use of digital books in places where access to reading materials is very limited.
It is a fact that literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty (UNESCO). Yet there are 740 million illiterate people in this world and 250 million children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills (UNESCO). Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still 50% of schools in Africa have few or no books at all (SACMEQ II). Worldreader is on a mission to bring digital books to every child and her family, so that they can improve their lives
The funds raised in 2015 from Passports with Purpose will bring digital reading to five libraries in western Kenya. The e-readers will provide an estimated 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books. Each library will get 50 Kindle e-readers, containing both English and Swahili fiction and non-fiction for all ages, as well as Kenyan textbooks. The Worldreader program also includes comprehensive training for the librarians, as well as a field-tested and proven solar solution that will keep the e-readers charged if electricity is scarce.
When it is:
From Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST to Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST each $10 you donate gives you a chance to enter to win from their catalogue of prizes ranging from a resort vacation to a camera to a stylish new suitcase.
How it works:
First you browse the prize catalogue and decide what you would like to win, then you make a donation. After you make a donation, you are able to bid on prizes. For each $10 you donate, you get one chance to win a prize. So if you give $100, you can bid 10 times on 1 prize or 1 time on 10 different prizes or however you want to break it up.
All profits from the online auction and all donations will go to Worldreader. To donate and participate in the auction, please click here.
To learn more about Passports with Purpose, please visit their website here or on social media here Facebook
, Pinterest, and Instagram. Hashtag #PwP and also #BooksforKenya.
In addition, Passports with Purpose is hosting two Twitter chats: Jen Leo and Katie Dillon are running a #KidsNTrips #PwP Twitter Chat at 12:30 EST on Tuesday 11/10 and Jyl Pattee and the Mom it Forward team are running one on 11/17 at 9 EST.
Do you believe in the power of literature?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom.
One of the boys smiles for the camera.
Traveling the world, I am always touched by the children of every place I go. Joy, creativity, and the desire to be loved is universal, and transcends borders, cultures, languages, and even circumstances in life. Despite some of the utter hardships some children face – whether it be war, poverty, hunger or disease – I find that kids are still kids no matter what. They all love to play, to learn, to have attention and love, and of course to smile.
Visiting children at either a local school, community-lead program or orphanage has become something I try to do on every trip to the developing world. I have found that even a short time spent playing and interacting with children, even if we can’t speak the same language, does wonders for the soul. There are tons of places in need of volunteers and visitors however finding the right place to visit can be tricky. Thankfully the perfect place to visit was just a short walk away from the gates of the hotel in Moshi, Tanzania where I was staying on my latest adventure.
The Springlands Hotel is the base of Zara Tours, one of the leading trekking and safari outfitters in Moshi and is the company we employed for our climb to Mount Kilimanjaro. Run by Zainab Ansell, Zara Tours has been brining guests on amazing adventures for over two decades and has also given back to the community in which they serve through the Zara Tanzania Charity. Zara Charity works to develop and support vulnerable groups within their community such as porters, Maasai women, and local orphans improving the lives for many.
Tanzania had been ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic that swept across the African continent killing an estimated 30 million people from AIDS-related causes since its beginning twenty years ago (UNAID 2010 report). In Tanzania alone, HIV/AIDS has devastated an entire generation leaving a nation of orphans. UNICEF estimates that there are over 3.1 million children in Tanzania living without parents of which an estimated 1.3 million are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. For many of these children, an orphanage is the only place they have to find food, shelter, education and medical attention.
The Kilimanjaro Orphanage Center in Moshi, Tanzania
The city of Moshi was not spared in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Right behind the Springlands Hotel lies the small community of Pasua, a dirt-lined street of homes and small businesses. In 2009, Edward “Teacher” Lazaro, a native Tanzanian, founded The Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre in response to the dire need to provide care and shelter to an increasing population of orphaned children in the Kilimanjaro region. Lazaro collaborated with Zainab Ansell of Zara Charity to set up the orphanage and today the center cares for 60 resident orphans with the help of many dedicated local and international volunteers.
After a short five-minute walk, twisting and turning down the serpentine dirt streets of the village, I arrived at the gates of the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre. I could hear the laughter of the children from outside the gates. A large group of 20 volunteers were already inside playing frisbee with the children. This group would spend the next several days visiting the kids before doing a Kilimanjaro climb in honor of their charity.
This little boy was a tough customer to get to smile. I found out he is a neighbor’s child who enjoys coming to play with the kids at the centre.
To learn more about the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Center and how you can help, click here.
This post was written by Nicole Melancon of ThirdEyeMom and edited for publication on World Moms Blog.
When you travel is there one particular thing that draws you in each place you go?
All photos by Nicole Melancon.
Have you ever had a dream for so long that it never stopped bugging you until you decided to just do it? For me, it has always been Kilimanjaro. I have wanted to climb this epic mountain for over 15 years since my father did it in October 1999 before my wedding. There really has not been any other dream or travel goal that I have had for that long.
Like most dreams, there have been many obstacles and road blocks along the way. The first big one was timing. There was no way I could go climb Kilimanjaro when I was in the midst of wedding planning, and honestly at that time I had never ever even considered climbing a mountain before. I had hiked all my life but had never climbed a mountain. My dad was always the mountain climber in the family, the one who took these amazing trips and challenged himself to new heights. Not me. Yet still his 1999 trip started a fire inside my wanderlust soul.
It wasn’t until 2001 a few months after September 11 that I did my first real, big, out-of-country hike. My dad and I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. I had never been on a multi-day hike before nor had I been above 12,000 feet. But this magical trip would be a turning point in my life. It would be the first of many hiking trips with my dad to off-the-beaten path places. It would open my eyes to the world outside of Europe, which had always been my safety net in traveling. It would instill a passion and desire to explore. A wanderlust that would never cease, not after getting married, having children, becoming a stay-at-home mom and turning 40.
Instead of satiating, my travel bug grew and grew, and grew. Fortunately, instead of having all my travel end once I had children it actually blossomed. My dad and I continued to take yearly trips to Argentina, Iceland, France, China, India, Nepal and most recently Bolivia. My husband pushed me to follow my dreams and supported my decisions to volunteer abroad in Morocco, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. I began my blog and the travel door continued to open as I visited India, Ethiopia and Haiti.
I often get those questions or remarks such as “How do you do it?” or “You are so lucky, my husband would never let me go“. That feeling of guilt about why should I be able to do this when others can’t even feed their family. Yet I have pushed it aside and realized that I have an incredible opportunity to use the good fortune of traveling to give back. To make a difference. To dedicate my life to helping people who don’t have these luxuries. So that is why I do what I do and am who I am.
As with my dream of climbing Kilimanjaro, I could easily have just signed up to climb it and gone by myself. I had thought about doing it many times. I even was going to do it with my husband years ago but we decided on Chile instead. Then came the kids and we never wanted to leave them without at least one parent home (hence why my husband does not travel with me).
I wanted this climb to be special. I wanted it to mean something similar to my life-changing trip to Nepal.
Like an act of fate, I got the call a few months ago from my dear friend, and fellow World Moms Blog Editor Elizabeth Atalay of Documama. Elizabeth and I met at a blogging conference a few years ago and since then we have worked together as writers at World Moms Blog, ONE.org, and Mom Bloggers for Social Good. One of our projects with Mom Bloggers for Social Good was to review an advanced copy of Betsy Teutsch’s new book called “100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women”. One of the non-profits inside of that book was Solar Sister. Solar Sister is based in Rhode Island where my friend Elizabeth lives, and Rhode Island is a small state.
Elizabeth was familiar with Solar Sister and over a lunch with a friend of hers who works there, she learned about their #SolarSisterSummit climb this July. Knowing this was a dream of mine, she phoned me right away to tell me about it. It was fate. I did a Skype call with the team a few days later and signed up instantly and haven’t looked back. Climbing Kilimanjaro while knowing I am doing it not only for myself, but to help others is amazing.
Over the next month and a half I will be actively fundraising with a goal of reaching $4,000 that will cover the training for 8 new Solar Sister Entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, I have almost raised $2,000! These women will have a new opportunity. It is a thrilling feeling knowing what an impact I will make.
The road ahead will be exhilarating. I have a lot of training to do, and more fundraising. But I know I can do it. My mom and dad always taught me to chase my dreams and never give up. I don’t think there is any better lesson I could have ever learned from them that is more valuable except of course to love, to be compassionate, and to be grateful.
Have you ever had a long-term dream or goal that you finally were able to fulfill?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom.
Kilimanjaro Photo credit Wikimedia
As a global advocate and traveler, I have always wanted to visit Haiti and little did I know I would soon find myself there as part of the Macy’s Heart of Haiti program (#Bloggers4Haiti), an initiative to bring the artisan’s work to market in the US, and offer a sustainable income for the survivors of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake five years ago. A small group of us landed in Port au Prince the Thursday before Valentine’s Day and the start of Haiti’s Carnival. I honestly had mixed emotions about what to expect.
The weeks before my departure the news from Haiti was more or less the same. Protesting, political instability, and the usual ongoing extreme poverty that gives Haiti a bad name. Being the poorest nation in the western hemisphere is not a status any country desires. Decades of political fighting, instability, foreign meddling, natural disasters, and poverty has left the country in shambles after the devastating earthquake a little over five years ago.
Reading all the terrible news that never seemed to shred a ray of light on Haiti obviously worried me. I honestly had no idea what to expect when I signed on for my trip with Macy’s Heart of Haiti program where I would spend five days in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel learning about the amazing partnership between America’s largest department store chain and Haitian artists. Would it be safe? was always my number one question as I finished reading the pages of Paul Farmer’s harrowing true story of the aftermath of the earthquake. Would I feel threatened? was another alarming fear I had in the back of my mind when I heard about the recent rioting and protests over the government and fuel prices. Lastly, Would it be depressing? I wondered as I pictured enormous squalid tent communities, slums and rubble.
How would Haiti truly be?
For me, that is the answer I wanted to find out. Whether “Hay-iti” or “the mountains place” as it was named after the long gone Taino people, was the frightening, poverty-stricken desperate place I’d read about over and over again in the media or was it a place of beauty, resilience and strength.
Our group meeting with the amazing women of OFEDA, all earthquake survivors.
As we landed in Haiti’s rebuilt airport in Port-au-Prince, I had just turned the last page of the powerful book “The Big Truck that Went By” by Jonathan Katz. Katz is a journalist who was based in Haiti during the earthquake and stayed on afterwards to document the enormous missed opportunity of governments and aid groups to help truly rebuild Haiti.
Despite the billions of dollars sent in aid money, Katz pointedly argues that Haiti is no better off than it was before the quake that killed over an estimated 220,000 people. Much of the promised aid money was never delivered, while Haitians scramble to rebuild, create jobs, and repair the horrendous lack of infrastructure that lead to such devastation in the first place. Five year later, running water and electricity remain a luxury to the lucky few. Haitians continue to leave the countryside and come to overcrowded Port-au-Prince to live in one of the many growing slums. Tent communities, although reduced in numbers, still exist. Medical care and treatment remain overwhelmed. And deforestation that makes the rains sweep away cities during the rainy season, destroying thousands of homes and killing people in its path, continues.
But “Dèyè mòn gen mòn”…a famous Haitian proverb that means “beyond the mountains, there are mountains”.
The “gingerbread” homes that rise up in the slums above Port au Prince, Haiti.
Haiti has a long way to go in rebuilding and ensuring that another devastation won’t destroy the progress that has been made. Haiti needs a stronger economy providing sustainable jobs.
Haiti needs better infrastructure on every level. Haiti needs investment in education, health care, water and sanitation, electricity, and transportation. Haiti needs political stability and a government that works for its people. And Haiti needs us to not forget her.
The mountains remaining are enormous and often seem almost impossible to pass. Yet the one thing that I learned after five days in Haiti is that the people are some of the strongest people on earth. They have witnessed so much hardship for centuries yet they persevere. Their strength and resilience is astonishing.
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom.