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Musicians and Young Hollywood Actors Send ‘Letters of Hope’ to Refugees in South Sudan on World Malaria Day
Los Angeles, CA | April 25, 2012
Rapper and record producer Lupe Fiasco is coming together with other talented actors on World Malaria Day to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan — and offer refugee children help and hope. Joining them is South Sudanese Lost Boy Tut Gatyiel, who will share his heart-wrenching personal story, and Nothing But Nets’ newest Champion, actress Serinda Swan.
For the 130,000 refugees who have fled to South Sudan to escape violence along the border, each day brings the threat of famine and disease. Especially vulnerable are thousands of refugee children five and under, whose leading cause of death is malaria. While the United Nation’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provides food, water, and shelter, these refugees need another life-saving tool: insecticide-treated bed nets.
To meet this need, the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign has launched a nationwide appeal to send 100,000 life-saving bed nets to help refugee families sleep safely. Broadway shows in Nederlander theaters across the U.S. are fundraising, including tonight’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical at the Pantages Theatre.
“I’m so proud of everyone joining in this important work,” says Gatyiel. “We are all connected. Even one child dying of malaria — a preventable disease — is too many.”
When rising young stars such as Justin Tinucci and Jadin Gould heard about Nothing But Nets, they were immediately inspired to send their own ”Letters of Hope.” The 100,000 bed nets being delivered to South Sudan by Nothing But Nets will be accompanied by personal letters from young actors to refugee children, filled with encouragement, drawings, jokes, and the reassurance that kids half a world away care. And cast members from Billy Elliot offered their own “Letter of Hope” to South Sudanese refugee children with a performance of the show’s signature ballad, “The Letter,” about a mother’s love for her son.
“The refugees of the South Sudan face a multitude of dangers,” says Chris Helfrich, Nothing But Nets Director. “By providing a simple but effective resource like bed nets, we can help make a deadly mosquito bite one less thing to fear when going to sleep at night. These talented partners truly prove that we can all do something to help refugees fight malaria.”
A major partner of Nothing But Nets, the Nederlander Organization is encouraging audiences at many of their theaters across the country to send nets and save lives in South Sudan. Nederlander’s month-long effort kicked off with Fela!, which opened at Broadway In Chicago earlier this month, followed by Bring It On: The Musical in Durham, and Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. The program is also being supported at Nederlander presentations in San Diego, Tucson, and San Jose. “Nothing But Nets enables us to shine our spotlight on an important health issue that everyone in our country needs to be aware of. Audiences from around the world attend our theatres and supporting this initiative is one way we can give back,” says James L. Nederlander, President of the Nederlander Organization.
South Sudan is roughly the size of Texas; families escaping fighting are moving into safer zones away from violence concentrated near the border. More than 130,000 refugees have fled fighting on the border of Sudan and South Sudan since last June; observers expect 75,000 more this year. Malaria is a leading cause of death among refugees and the number one cause of death of children under five in South Sudan. Bed nets are an easy, cost-effective tool to keep families safe.
To date, Nothing But Nets has raised over $40 million to distribute more than 6 million insecticide-treated nets to families throughout Africa. To learn more and to donate, visit www.NothingButNets.net
About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, The people of The United Methodist Church, and Major League Soccer’s MLS W.O.R.K.S. It only costs $10 to provide an insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.
About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.
Leslie Lake (202) 857-2218
Susannah Rosenblatt (202) 492-5486