My wife, Katie, and I are trying to raise $1,250 $1,000 $750 $500 in a week to help our parish priest, and native Kenyan, provide 250 200 150 100 families in rural Kenya with anti-malarial mosquito nets for their children. We know times are tough economically, but even a small donation of just $5 – roughly your daily triple, non-fat, caramel machiatto – can buy a mosquito net that will keep families safe from malaria carrying mosquitoes.
We are hoping many of you choose to donate $5 for a net (and hopefully more), but please donate what you can, any amount puts us closer to giving a family a life saving tool. It’s important to note that 100% of the money we raise will go directly to buying the nets. No overhead, no wasted donations. Just money to save the lives of poor children in rural, western Kenya from the malaria.
Donate now! Just click on the widget and you can donate via paypal today.
Your $5 Can Make a Difference to the Children of Bar-Kowino and Stop Malaria (and do it Now!)
Why Are We Doing This? A Little Background
Katie and I belong to St. John’s Parish here in Seattle where a year ago Fr. Crispin Okoth, a village priest from Kenya, became our parish pastor. Fr. Crispin has been a wonderful addition to our lives. He is a joyful man, an even humbler priest and a selfless humanitarian. The last is not surprising given that Fr. Crispin hails from the rural, poor village of Bar-Kowino in Western Kenya outside the town of Bondo.
Bar-Kowino has a little more then 4,000 residents, not a single paved road, and only a simple medical clinic in the nearby town of Bondo without a full time doctor. According to Fr. Crispin, the average “house” is a hut where all the kids of the “house” sleep together on the floor on mats.
This is a poor community that can use all the help it can get and where a little help goes a long way.
The Kenyan Goes Home – to help his Mother and Village
Fr. Crispin’s mother is ill and so he tries to go home as much as he can which, given the cost and distance, is only once or twice a year. When he has the chance to go home, Fr. Crispin likes to not only help his mom, but also do what he can do help his village. Fr. Crispin is well aware that very rural areas are often over-looked by the Kenyan government and international charities due to the logistics of getting to remote locations. So he takes it upon himself to cut through the red-tape to bring whatever assistance he can to his village.
One of the things that is near and dear to his heart is the fight against malaria. Priests are often surrogate care-givers in rural, poor areas of the developing world. And, as such, Fr. Crispin has done his fair share of acting as a medical proxy. Unfortunately that has meant holding way too many children in his arms as they suffered and died from malaria. All told, more then 50,000 (!) children die form malaria in Kenya every year. For comparison, there is a global swine flu epidemic that has dominated news cycles and public attention yet has killed less then a 1,000 world wide. How is it that we yet overlook the tragedy of malaria, horribly deadly but easily preventable?
When the subject of malaria came up in a recent homily, Katie & I were both struck by the horror of so many children needlessly dying. One of the most effective ways to prevent malaria is to have children sleep under medically treated mosquito nets. And even better they are cheap solution- only $5 each! It truly only takes $5 to essentially block malaria from attacking and possibly killing a household of children because, as Fr. Crispin told us when we asked, all the children can sleep together under one large net on their sleeping mats. Both of us had heard of large charitable efforts like the one run by the NBA to help provide malarial nets, why did that not have a greater impact? The answer is two-fold. First is simply the scope of the need for the nets, Africa is after all, an enormous, highly populous continent. The second reason is logistics. It is simply easier to distribute nets in more urban areas. The further from a population center you are, the less likely your are to have a net. Sadly, you are also far more likely to have less access to health care as well, not a good combination.
We decided that we had to help
After several dinner table discussions, Katie and I agreed that we would try to help Fr. Crispin help his community back home by providing him with money to buy nets for his village. And now we need your help. Your donations will have an immediate impact. Fr. Crispin leaves for Kenya on July 26th and will be distributing the nets to the neediest families as soon as he arrives. We need the donations by the 22nd so Fr. Crispin can order the nets in Nairobi for pickup when he arrives. Again, all the money donated will be used to purchase the nets. So please help the children of Bar-kowino.
Remember, $500 = 100 families protected. That’s a pretty darn good ROI.
Thanks for all your help and consideration,
Todd and Katie