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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASA fights malaria epidemic

    A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds, according to the World Health Organization.

    A group of 40 students from the African Students Association are raising funds in Tucson to help the effort to combat malaria, an epidemic that especially affects the African continent.

    “”We raise money for different causes in Africa every year,”” said Uchenna Okeke, an electrical engineering sophomore and president of ASA. “”One year it was for education, another year it was for orphans and this year it was malaria.””

    Many of the members of the group are from Africa and have experienced malaria firsthand, Okeke said. They do not want others to have to go through what they did.

    The ASA has been putting on a fundraising banquet for causes in the most impoverished areas for the last six years, she added.

    “”The Sub-Saharan and tropical areas of Africa are hit the hardest by malaria,”” said Oluyomi Ajulo, a biochemistry junior and vice president of ASA.

    “”Every two minutes, someone dies of malaria in Africa,”” Okeke added.

    This statistic fueled the group to take donations and raise the funds to help curb the growing numbers of the afflicted.

    While the association has not finished counting donations from its most recent banquet, last fall’s event brought in $2,000, Ajulo said. “”The donations are going to a non-governmental organization called Africa fighting Malaria. They will use the money for advocacy issues and working to educate Africans.””

    Africa Fighting Malaria is a non-profit health advocacy group based in the United States and South Africa. The organization aims to bring attention to the disease and reduce the number of transmission occurrences.

    In previous years, ASA has donated funds generated at the banquet to Child Africa, a charity organization that provides food, clothing, medicine and school supplies to orphaned children in Africa.

    While ASA supports the countries within Africa that need the most help, they are also focused on the Tucson community. Last year, the group supported Tucson refugees by buying car seats for families who could not afford them to take their children home from the hospitals.

    “”We don’t only work on local and international issues,”” Ajulo said. “”We try to educate the UA community about the African culture.””

    In addition to the banquet, every spring semester the group hosts an event called the Cultural Show that highlights the African culture through dance, skits, fashion shows and food.

    Okeke said that anyone who wants to make a donation to help support the causes the ASA champions should contact her at okeke527@email.arizona.edu.

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