Recap Voices for Sierra Leone: A World Malaria Day Interfaith Benefit Concert
On Monday April 30th, the four Faiths Act Fellows in Washington, D.C. hosted a benefit concert for World Malaria Day entitled Voice for Sierra Leone. The event was held at Busboys & Poets, a favorite restaurant for locals and showcased the voices from various singers, spoken word artists, poets, and dancers from around the area who find inspiration in their faith and social justice.
According to a 2011 report from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, accounting for roughly half of all health system outpatient visits and 38% of hospital admissions. For a country with 102 doctors, it’s clear that this treatable and preventable disease costs Sierra Leone a great deal of hospital resources and lives.
With statistics such as these, it’s important to tell the story of what work is being done to help prevent individuals from contracting malaria and in turn, saving lives. Stories such as the one of our fellows working on the ground in Sierra Leone to train pastors and imams on malaria prevention and treatment who in turn teach others what they have learned.
This was precisely the story that we highlighted at our event. In the midst of performances we took a moment to talk about malaria and the impact it is having in Africa. We were fortunate to have with us Teslim Alghali, an imam from Sierra Leone who helped train other imams and pastors for the program. He talked about the work being done on the ground and the importance of education. “I am really passionate about giving people the tools to empower themselves,” said Teslim at the event, “and one thing about malaria prevention is that it’s all about education, that’s where it starts.”
With a strong lineup of performers, who all donated their time and talent to the event, we were able to ensure that 100% of the proceeds went directly to the Faiths Act program in Sierra Leone. The evening started with a performance from the Mudpatch Kids, followed by the thought provoking words of slam poet Mojy Mojahid. Songrise, a social justice a cappella group and Anna Mwalagho, a poet and afro-beat singer, both stole the crowd with their performances. Ebony Khan’s soul filled performance was equally as incredible and the night could not have ended better than with Justin Fung and his band’s song entitled, Monster.
Our World Malaria Day event not only brought the narrative of the work being done in Sierra Leone to D.C., it allowed us and everyone who performed and attended to become a part of the solution to ending malaria. And that, is the best feeling of all.