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Festival to Aid Fight Against Malaria

Festival to Aid Fight Against Malaria

UCR students organize World Benefit on April 15 to support UNICEF campaign.

(April 9, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — UC Riverside students will support global efforts to fight malaria with World Benefit, a festival on Tuesday, April 15, that will raise money for UNICEF’s Roll Back Malaria campaign.

The event, which is open to the public, will feature a performance by Chosaanu, a Senegalese dance troupe that is based in San Francisco, at 7:45 p.m. in the University Theatre. The cost for the Chosaanu performance is $6. Admission to other festival events is free. Parking costs $6.

From 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., various student organizations will staff information tables and sell food on the University Theatre patio. Among those organizations are: International Service and Global Impact, Students for Tibet, Students for Darfur, Students for Justice in Palestine, La Union Estudiantil de la Raza, African Americans in the Humanities, Amnesty International, Alpha Phi Alpha, African Student Programs, Latino Student Union, KUCR and the Riverside City Youth Council.

Other activities include a coffee bar, an auction of student art and a photo/movie gallery about the effects of malaria globally.

Dance performances by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Nigerian Student Association, and students Geminelle and David Sides are scheduled from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

The festival is sponsored by Associated Students of UCR and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Samantha Wilson, a junior majoring in political science and global studies, organized the first World Benefit last year. That event raised nearly $1,500 for Human Rights Watch and its campaign to aid women in Darfur who were separated from their homes and families.

“I started World Benefit last year to involve more UCR students in humanitarian efforts,” Wilson said. “Not all of us are activists, but I believe that we are all interested in improving the lives of people we do not know in places we’ve never been to. We do this in many ways, and World Benefit provides an opportunity for busy students and staff to give of themselves in a celebratory, yet informational, environment.”

Ndeye Fatu Sesay, a native of Sierra Leone who is organizing this year’s festival, selected UNICEF’s malaria-relief program as the beneficiary of World Benefit. She is a senior majoring in political science international relations.

“Roll Back Malaria supports research, insecticide-treated nets, insecticide treatments in low-income areas across the globe, and anti-malarial drugs for mothers and children,” Sesay said. “This is important to me because where I come from malaria is endemic. We have seen many people lose their lives to something that is curable. Yet, because of poverty, people are not able to access these treatments. When I got malaria I was able to be treated due to the privilege within my family. But to see something that costs so little to treat kill one child every 30 seconds is bothersome.”

According to UNICEF, malaria infects 350 million to 500 million people each year and kills nearly 1 million people, most of them children in Africa. Malaria accounts for about one in five of all childhood deaths in Africa. The UNICEF initiative aims to cut infections in half by 2010.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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