$10 Gift Provides Anti-Malaria Nets to Sudanese Refugees
WASHINGTON, DC, December 1, 2008 -- This year, as we celebrate Chanukah with family and friends, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is calling on Jews across the country to take part in the Nothing But Nets campaign, which provides insecticide-treated bed nets to Sudanese refugees as part of the global fight against malaria. The Reform Movement has already raised more than $250,000 towards its goal of $500,000 and hopes by reaching out to the broader community to reach its goal within the year. Nothing But Nets provides an economical way to celebrate Chanukah and teach children about tikkun olam.
"Nothing But Nets allows parents and grandparents to teach their children the importance of saving a life by giving the gift of life," said Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. "Give a gift that will markedly improve the living conditions of a family of Sudanese refugees -- and do it in honor of loved ones. A $10 holiday donation to Nothing But Nets makes the perfect gift."
Feldman noted that the Reform Movement has, for several years, encouraged families to designate one night of Chanukah for the Ner Shel Tzedakah -- the Candle of Righteousness -- Project, which encourages families to make a donation to a worthy cause instead of exchanging gifts. Past projects have included an effort to provide Chanukah gifts to less fortunate children, organized clothing drives, and Judaica donations to developing Jewish communities. This year, the Reform Movement has made it easy for givers to help their recipients understand the meaning of the gift to Nothing But Nets by providing "e-cards" and forms that can be printed and given to the recipient.
Malaria causes more than one million deaths and infects 500 million people each year worldwide, devastating societies and economies. Providing bed nets treated with insecticide to refugee camps and less fortunate areas has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms of halting the spread of malaria in Africa, which has pulled valuable resources away from other priorities. The nets have been proven to protect entire families by reducing transmission of the disease by as much as 90%.
The Reform Movement’s Nothing But Nets initiative, in partnership with the UN Foundation, provides these bed nets to those most susceptible to malaria. Donations to the campaign go directly toward the purchase and distribution of a family bed net, as well as education about its use. Funds raised through the Reform Movement specifically assists Sudanese refugees who have crossed borders into Uganda, the Central African Republic and Chad. To purchase a net, visit www.urj.org/nets.