Yesterday I did what I almost always do on Sundays–play with my two young sons, go for a long run, and generally just enjoy being at home with my family. I also spent a considerable amount of time packing for my first trip to Rwanda. I’m headed there today with the Nothing But Nets campaign and our friends at WWE to visit refugee camps with our partners at the UN Refugee Agency. We’re going to distribute life-saving bed nets while we’re there, to help ensure that all families fleeing violence and other hardships in the region and across the continent are protected from malaria. Even though we’ve made great progress against the disease, malaria is still a leading killer of refugees in Africa.
We’re going to Rwanda to help families fleeing conflict in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over the course of the day at home with my family it occurred to me how, despite the unimaginable differences in our living situations, there’s much that I share with families that Nothing But Nets is working to protect.
As a parent, I’m constantly focused on my children and their well-being. Making sure that they are eating healthy foods, wearing their helmets when they ride their bikes, spending enough time reading books, and getting a good night’s sleep. I try to do everything I can to ensure that my kids have a good, safe upbringing. And that’s exactly what parents from Democratic Republic of the Congo–and every parent–wants for their children, too.
Only the stakes are a lot higher and the situation more dire for these families. Parents there are trying to make sure that their children stay safe from violence, have enough to eat and drink, and can sleep without risk of contracting malaria, which is a leading killer of children under 5 in the region despite being preventable with a simple net. The circumstances that these families face are unthinkable. But bed nets can provide a small measure of hope.
Nothing But Nets allows American families to connect with and help families half a world away who also want the best for their children. Helping is easy. $10 buys a life-saving bed net that will help these families sleep safely, protected from a disease that still kills a child every 60 seconds.
I hope you’ll follow our journey in Rwanda over the next 10 days and read the stories of the families and children that are benefitting from the nets that we’re sending. And I hope you’ll consider sending a bed net (or ten!) so that we can make sure that malaria becomes one problem that refugees no longer must face.