A Net Gain in Tanzania



In the northwest corner of Tanzania sits the country’s sole refugee camp. Camp Nyarugusu houses nearly 68,000 refugees, mostly from the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many have been at the camp since 1996 when the civil war forced them out of their homes. Others are escaping more recent violence, such as the chopping off of albinos’ limbs and grinding the bones into “magic dust” – a practice that became “witchdoctor-approved” for good luck in 2009. Needless to say, many of these men, women and children fled from terrifying violence and came to Tanzania seeking safety. Though the people at Camp Nyarugusu are safe from violence, they are plagued with yet another deadly killer: malaria. Last year alone, in a camp of 68,000 people, there were 62,000 cases of malaria. One woman in the camp has had malaria twenty times and her baby has had the illness three times in the last three months. And before ESPN columnist Rick Reilly’s and NBA superstar Stephen Curry’s trip to Nyarugusu last month, there were no mosquito nets.

The camp desperately needs mosquito nets, and our partners over at the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets have determined that the camp needs 38,000 nets to adequately protect its residents. That’s why we at the Religious Action Center have decided to focus our efforts on this camp, in particular. All nets that our Movement raises will be sent to families in Nyarugusu so that these refugees who are fleeing violence don’t have to face another killer.

Stay tuned as we bring personal stories of families and success stories from the camp to you through RACblog throughout the year. Right now, you can check out Nothing But Nets’ Facebook album with pictures from their trip with Rick Reilly and Stephen Curry.

We’ve set a goal here at the RAC to raise 18,000 nets this year and to send 1,800 letters to Congress so our lawmakers know that this issue is a priority for Reform Jews. We must pursue healing, rodeph refuah, and though 18,000 nets is just under half of what is needed at Nyarugusu, we learn from our ancient Jewish scholars that to save just one life is as if we have saved the entire world.

 

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Veronica Grant

About Veronica Grant

Veronica Grant is the Program Coordinator for the URJ partner, the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, and formally Nothing But Nets. She is from Asheville, NC and graduated from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A New Malaria Fellowship Opportunity for College Students! | Fresh Updates from RAC - November 8, 2013

    […] As always, if you haven’t had a chance to ask your members of Congress to continue supporting anti-malaria initiatives, our action alerts make it quick and easy for you. And of course consider sending a net to a family in Camp Nyarugusu in Tanzania! […]

  2. NFTY Comes Together to Eradicate Malaria | NFTY - October 8, 2013

    [...] This year the Reform Movement is focusing its efforts on Camp Nyarugusu in Tanzania, which houses over 68,000 Congolese refugees. As a movement we hope to not only send another 18,000 nets to Nyarugusu this coming year, which will protect most of the residents, but we also hope to send 1,800 letters to Congress asking our leaders to remain strong in the fight against malaria. [...]

  3. Nothing But Nets: NFTY Helps Spread the Buzz! | Fresh Updates from RAC - October 2, 2013

    [...] This month, NFTY is helping to spread the buzz about malaria, Nothing But Nets, and our partnership throughout the month of October. Their goal is to help build awareness in their movement, advocate to their members of Congress to continue funding the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and maybe even to send a few nets over to Camp Nyarugusu in Tanzania! [...]

  4. 10 Things I Hate About Malaria | Fresh Updates from RAC - August 19, 2013

    [...] Read about why the Reform Movement is focusing its efforts on Camp Nyarugusu this year. [...]

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