Armed with the statistic that malaria kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds, Glendaal Elementary Teacher Trish Roeser felt that this year she would pick this epidemic as her lesson in philanthropy. Her third-grade students incorporated a lesson in caring with their end of the year African studies.
Roeser said every year she tries to teach her students that the world is a much bigger place then Schenectady County, and that everyone may not be as fortunate as most children in America are. Roeser said that she read a book about malaria before talking to her students about this preventable disease that causes up to 500 million illnesses each year.
As part of our studies, I told them about malaria using the information on the Web site, malarianomore.org, and read them a short book I had called ‘Nets are Nice,’ said Roeser.
Roeser said the class studied Africa, mainly Kenya, in social studies, learning many things about the sub-Saharan African culture. Roeser said they made the unit hands-on by cooking foods like irio, or mashed potatoes, corn and peas, and mango-banana sundaes.
`We made animals out of clay, we made masks, we learned how to drum and made a video. We had a Nigerian friend come and speak about life as a child in Africa. We learned about what resources and products we get from Africa. We read lots of books about Africa and looked at several Web sites. I have visited Kenya, so I was able to speak about that as well,` said Roeser.
To help raise money to fight malaria, the students decided that as part of their open house on Wednesday, June 17, they would invite parents and teachers who attended to make a donation of $10 each to purchase the nets that protect children from the mosquitoes that carry malaria.
Student Vincent DeLucca said he feels good about being able to help someone who is so far away.
`This program will be helping other people,` said DeLucca.
Fellow students Warren Weaver and Matthew Knuth said they never thought nets could save lives, and they felt good about being to able to raise the money to purchase them.
Roeser said two years ago, the students raised money for Heifer International. In other years, they have helped organizations like Kids Saving the Rainforest, where the class put on a special puppet show for the rainforest issues. Roeser said learning about malaria and how easy it can be to prevent such a devastating disease really made the children feel as though they could do something to help. The nets are tangible items that the children can picture, Roeser said, adding the Web site shows the students how the nets can be used by the African children, so her students can picture the nets protecting them.
For more information on malaria, and to make donations, visit www.malarianomore.org.