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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Newly-organized Grinnellians for Global Health raise money for malaria

This holiday season, students in Professor Eric Carter’s tutorial are giving Grinnellians the opportunity to purchase two gifts in one: candy grams for friends and bed nets for victims of malaria in Africa.

“Every year, one million people in Africa die from malaria, and most of them are women and children,” said Aarti Kolluri ’15. “In Africa, it’s a normalized illness. It’s like the flu, but they do not realize that it’s preventable.”

“The malaria parasite gets into the blood stream, takes over the blood cells, and then the blood cells burst,” said Jessica Gallegos ’15. “But with the right supplies, it can be very easy to stop that parasite and treat the illness.”

Grinnellians for Global Health, a newly formed group led by Gallegos and Kolluri, is sponsoring the charity to raise funds to fight diseases in the third world. Both first years are students in Professor Eric Carter’s tutorial on malaria, which inspired Gallegos to do research on charities focused on the disease. After some organizational work by Gallegos and Kolluri, their tutorial started to put their knowledge into action beyond the classroom.

“We all care deeply about malaria,” said Emily Mesev ’15. “In tutorial, we looked at malaria’s scientific, social [and] economic aspects, and we learned about how much of a toll it takes on people’s lives in Africa. A lot of people in the developed world don’t think it’s a big deal, because it’s been eradicated from America and Europe.”

Gallegos and Kolluri say that Grinnellians for Global Health raised close to $500, which will be donated to the Lutheran Malaria Initiative.

“Through donations, they get treatment, bed nets, supplies, and education to people in Africa. Through that organization, ten dollars can buy a bed net,” said Gallegos.

“There’s an initiative among all of the programs that are trying to eradicate malaria or lessen its burden, and their goal is to have a major difference by 2015. Our goal, because we graduate in 2015, is to contribute to that effort,” said Kolluri.

Although candy grams are typically associated with Valentine’s Day, their table in the JRC—manned by members of the tutorial—has collected large numbers of donations and usernames for their group email list. The Grinnellians for Global Health hope to make the candy gram fundraiser an annual event.

“It’s more seasonal,” Kolluri said. “It’s in the spirit of giving to your friends during the stress of finals week.”

Next semester, Gallegos and Kolluri hope to expand the group’s focus to tackle other challenging diseases in the third world.

“We want to work with an organization in Boston to hand out more information and do more fundraisers for diseases that affect people globally,” said Kolluri.

“I don’t feel like there’s another club on campus that is going to look at all of these different diseases around the world,” said Hayley Hajic ’15. “With a larger membership, I think it has the potential to make a major impact.”

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