On Friday, March 25th, 17 west Bronx students commemorated World Malaria Day in an event organized by Children for Children, a NY-based non-profit that engages youth in community service, at the Puck Building in Manhattan.
The students, involved with a group called Building With Books, came from Bronx Center for Science and Math, Health Opportunities and Professions High School, Validus Preparatory, Marble Hill High School, and the Bronx Expeditionary Learning High.
Building with Books attempts to enhance education and empower youth in the U.S. to teach students how to make a positive difference in their communities, while helping people of developing countries increase their self-reliance through education. Participating in service projects once a week on Saturdays, and raising money to build schools, the BWB students will travel to Africa this summer to see their work firsthand.
The event, which was attended by almost 100 city youth, showed the students how their peers in many Third World countries suffer from the disease often spread by mosquitoes.
Fatimatu Kebbeh and Aissatu Fofana, students at Bronx Center, also brought along their young siblings Isatou and Bintu, who are students from P.S. 70, at 1691 Weeks Avenue.
The youth were particularly excited about some of the prizes given out at the event.
“One of our students, Marcos Diaz, won a Nano iPod,” said Sahar Muradi, program coordinator at Building with Books, who accompanied the students. “He was, of course, ecstatic!”
However, the day was not all about the prizes for Diaz, a student at Health Professions.
“I learned about malaria, and how one kid dies every 30 seconds because of it,” said Diaz, who added that he was taken back by the statistic and was empowered to make a difference.
The event began with a short DVD about malaria, its impact and what young people can do to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Bronx cohort then divided into three groups and each created a short Public Service Announcement about malaria with the aid of Children for Children staff. The videos may be used as actual broadcast PSAs.
“The students got very creative, using all sorts of props, including bed nets and a mosquito costume!” Muhadi said.
After a number of arts and crafts activities, the event ended with a rousing game of Jeopardy, with questions about the information the students had learned.
“Our students got very into it, very competitive!” Muhadi excitedly explained. “One member said it was her favorite part of the day because she got to see how much she had really learned about this deadly disease.”
©2008 Community News Group