For our recent World Malaria Day faith campaign, we asked college students from all over the country to help “Shine a Light on Malaria” on their campuses. Drawing on the common call in each of the world’s major religions to care for the poor and serve our neighbors near and far, we invited faith-based and interfaith student groups to take action in support of full funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as raise awareness about preventable diseases.
Reem Sharhan, a long-time ONE supporter, rallied students at the University of Pennsylvania through her work with the student group Project Nur. Reem describes Project Nur as “a student-led initiative of the American Islamic Congress, a civic organization that concentrates on issues of human rights, unity and co-existence. Project Nur in particular provides a space for students from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions to celebrate their diversity.” In addition, nur is an Arabic word that translates to “light” in English, a fitting title for a group working to Shine a Light on Malaria!
Reem explained that she got involved because she is very concerned with public health issues, and has always admired ONE’s anti-poverty programs. She planned a lot of exciting activities for World Malaria Day, including a “take the mosquito away” table where students could make little pipe-cleaner mosquitoes and set up a photo booth, where her group “took pictures of people holding signs that raised awareness about the disease and showed how people are using their faith as a motivator to go out and fight malaria.”
She also hosted a Solidaritea which brought together people from different faith backgrounds to talk about malaria over tea. Reem screened “A Killer in The Dark,” (a film by the United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria program) followed by a discussion about malaria led by pathologist Dr. Mazhar Rishi.
Reem and UPenn were certainly busy for World Malaria Day, and when asked if they would continue participating in ONE’s campaigns, “Certainly!” replied Reem, who is ready for the next collaboration.
Here in the faith team at ONE, we are thrilled to see faithful advocates like Reem, working tirelessly to get more students engaged in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. Thanks to all the faith communities who joined us to Shine a Light on Malaria, and look forward to new faith resources coming soon at www.one.org/faith!
-Carolyn Worthge, Faiths Act Fellow
Photos courtesy of Belal Khan.