Fancy dresses replace bathing suits to fight malaria

OCEANSIDE — Moms decked out in their finest dresses and hats jumped in the salty water at Oceanside Pier to raise money to fight malaria May 10. The Mother’s Day Fancy Dress Swim organized by the ONE campaign and advocacy organization generated enough money to buy more than 400 nets that will protect families from mosquitoes and the malaria they carry.
“It’s a holistic approach,” Marlaine Cover, a member of ONE San Diego, said about the campaign that works to eradicate extreme poverty through practical fundraisers and political advocacy. “Malaria is entirely preventable with bed nets.”
The fundraiser brought mothers together through the common bond of valuing and protecting children and their families. “I liked it because it was Mother’s Day,” Rev. Meg Decker of Trinity Episcopal Church and a ONE member, said while still dripping in her wet dress. “It’s a good way of saying we care about other mothers.”
“It’s just not fair some parents have to lose their child to malaria and some children have to lose their parents to AIDS,” Cindy Shamel, a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and ONE, said. “There are small things we can do. Today’s money can buy 500 nets and change the lives of 2,000 people if four sleep under a net.”
Cover stressed the ONE campaign and advocacy organization consists of all people, of all faiths and all political persuasions. “They’re all about the cause,” Cover said.
ONE is a nonpartisan, nondenominational worldwide action group that actively works to fight extreme poverty and preventable diseases through advocacy.
Members engage in events and electronic letter writing campaigns to inform U.S. and world political leaders about poverty issues in the hopes of achieving justice and equality. ONE does more than support those suffering from extreme poverty; it actively works to implement the Millennium Development Goals, signed by 190 countries, that targets ill effects of poverty to be cut in half by 2015.
The goals of the organization are extreme, but solid progress has been made by collective world focus to eliminate poverty.
“A lot of goals are being met,” Shamel said. “We’re coming very close on some.” Shamel said the goal of assuring a dependable worldwide water supply is making great progress.
Eradicating extreme hunger, achieving primary education, combating malaria, AIDS, and other preventable diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability are among the organization’s top goals.
“Malaria kills more children under 5 then anything else,” Herley Jim Bowling of Santa Monica said.
The ONE organization has worked nine years toward meeting its goal of significantly reducing poverty. “In the fundraiser we want your voice, not your money,” Bowling said. “We want to keep governments accountable. We’re usually pretty successful at that. People in congress know people are paying attention and they want to do the right thing.”
Bowling noted that when Liberia’s debt was forgiven with the help of a ONE letter writing campaign, it allowed the country to make progress toward providing resources that take its citizens out of extreme poverty.
Bowling said that when poverty is eliminated people have the resources and energy to contribute fully to society. “People can give their gifts to the world,” Bowling said. “They can contribute to economics, arts, music. The Fancy Dress Swim is like a metaphor, how to take “fancy” money and turn it toward poverty.”
For more information on the ONE campaign, visit www.one.org.

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