On International Youth Day (August 12), the global community draws attention to the various economic, social, and health-related issues that impact young people. This moment also affords an opportunity to celebrate youth leaders that are working to build a better future.
International Youth Day is especially important for our campaign, as children are among the most vulnerable groups impacted by malaria. Unlike adults who have grown up in endemic regions, children are yet to develop immunity to defend themselves against malaria. In 2020, 77% of all malaria deaths worldwide were children under 5.
Malaria-free children can attend school, learn, and grow, contributing to their community and global economy. Ensuring children are able to stay healthy enough to attend school consistently significantly improves their school performance, and later wage-earning capacity.
Across the world, young people are also playing a critical role in drawing attention to this deadly disease. United to Beat Malaria is proud to have many youth Champions that are advocating for increased investment and garnering political will, to end malaria for good.
In Shanghai, 10 year-old Charlotte Ng has shown leaders what it takes to be a malaria Champion.
What is your name/age and where are you from?
My name is Charlotte Ng, I am from Singapore and now living in Shanghai where my parents work. I am in Grade 4 and [turned] 10 this June.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I want to be an educational psychologist when I grow up. I want to enable children to achieve their full potential and to do great things for the world. There are many issues with the world right now that need our generation and future generations to solve. Climate change, inequality, war and malaria to name a few. We need the collective passion and intellect of everyone, including the future generations to tackle these problems.
How did you learn about malaria?
Last summer, I read an article that said over 300,000 children are killed by Malaria each year worldwide. This is 200 times the number of students in my school. I decided we must do something to stop this!
I learnt from the internet that malaria is spread by mosquitoes and Africa is very seriously impacted by malaria. Together with my family, we found United to Beat Malaria, an organization that’s working to end malaria by providing nets [and other tools] to repel mosquitos. From your website, I learnt how useful these nets are to ending malaria, and still remember how excited I was when I saw kids living safely with these nets!
What inspired you to fundraise with United to Beat Malaria?
I was inspired by what you do. You have been protecting over 39 million people across 57 countries from malaria in the past 15 years. I was touched by the pictures from your website, seeing children staying in nets with happy smiles knowing they are safe. I searched online for another organization like yours and couldn’t find any.
Can you provide a little background on your bracelets and their meaning?
I love making bracelets, and giving them to my friends to symbolize different things. If children have bracelets that come with insect repellent, then they can be safe while in the nets but also outside. After having gone through COVID, we all know what it means to be able to get outside, especially for children.
I want the bracelets to be magical with protective powers and meaning. So, they have special elements, like an Ukulele-shaped bead representing happiness, and a scuba diving mask shaped bead representing exploration. I wish these bracelets deliver my wishes of happiness, exploration and friendship to children in Africa, and protect them from malaria while they are outside enjoying the world like us.
United to Beat Malaria is incredibly grateful to have young, fearless leaders like Charlotte working to make this the generation to beat malaria for good.
Visit beatmalaria.org to find out how you can take action in the fight against malaria.