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Vancouver Children Raise the Nets

Setting up a malaria net in Mozambique. Photo: Zaida Bastos

June 13, 2013

By Simon Chambers

Children and adults at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver have raised over $13,000 to provide 1300 mosquito nets for families in Africa through PWRDF’s Connections program.  PWRDF partners in Mozambique distribute and educate families about the proper use of nets to help stop the spread of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

“The project was felt to be realistic, had concrete characteristics, would be ideal for the Children’s Ministry as an education initiative and also for the congregation at Christ Church Cathedral,” wrote Dr. Jack Forbes in an email to PWRDF.  Forbes is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UBC who has also worked in pediatric HIV in Africa who is also a parishioner at Christ Church Cathedral.  “We loved the idea and a $10 donation could secure the purchase of a treated net and the support services.”

Forbes worked with Ellen Clark-King, the Vicar of the cathedral, to present a homily in September which examined both the medical and practical sides of anti-malarial nets, and was also “set within a theological reflection on our Christian call to serve God’s people””that is all people””far as well as near.”

The children learned about malaria, mosquito nets, and about Africa in their Children’s Church, and were active in promoting the program in the parish, “”¦dressing up as mosquitos and attacking the Dean who was safely under a net” during the inaugural Sunday service.

Between September and March, the cathedral had raised enough money for 700 nets, but decided to do another push- to raise enough additional funds to supply 500 more nets over the 50 days of Easter.  They surpassed that goal, raising enough money to purchase over 600 more nets.

The program was very effective with the children and the congregation as a whole.  “”¦they could see there was a direct consequence to the money they raised or donated and felt that the effort would be effective and would make a difference.  I also think it made a difference to people that PWRDF and CIDA [the Canadian International Development Agency] were involved,” wrote Forbes.

CIDA partners with PWRDF in providing the nets as part of an integrated health care program in Mozambique.  Every dollar contributed by PWRDF to the program is matched by $3 from CIDA.

The opportunity to learn about an issue facing one of our partners, in this case malaria, alongside an opportunity to directly make a difference is really what the Connections program is all about. Connections bring people together in new ways, eliciting new gifts and resources for all concerned. If your parish would like to get involved please contact Carolyn Vanderlip.

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