Nationwide interfaith initiative raises $30,000

(May 12, 2010) – World Malaria Day 2010 took place on Sunday, April 25. Diverse faith communities from across Canada took action this year to combat malaria, a completely preventable disease that still takes the life of a child every 30 seconds. Together over 50 Congregations and individuals from across Canada raised over $15,000.00 which has been matched by the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair to total over $30,000.00

Congregations Act challenged congregations of diverse faiths from across Canada to take the “10 Nets for 2010 Challenge” to raise $100 for ten life saving bednets. Insecticide treated nets can protect sleeping families in Africa from the disease-carrying mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Numerous faith communities joined the initiative, from the Maritimes to the Prairies including rural Ontario and Quebec. Supported to date by Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Unitarians, Congregations Act illustrates how faith communities can work together concretely for the common good both at home and abroad.

Funds raised from the “10 Nets for 2010 Challenge” in each congregation go to Spread the Net, which acquires and distributes the bednets in partnership with UNICEF Canada. The efforts of supporters of Congregations Act helped Spread the Net meet its national campaign target and surpass it.

Rae Leaden of Harrow United Church in Winnipeg, MB included the children in a luncheon fundraiser, having them put together fruit salads, make cookies, mosquito masks and read a story about malaria prevention. “Our children had a lot of fun, enjoyed a great meal and learned more about malaria and the importance of the mosquito nets to the African families.” Harrow United Church raised $325.00.

Most congregations far exceeded the $100 ask, including St. Jean Brébeuf Parish in LaSalle, QC who have raised $4000.00 and are still collecting, The Unitarian Congregation in Saskatoon, SK who raised over $600.00 and the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto who have raised $500.00.

Irshad Osman, an Imam at the Danforth Islamic Centre has dedicated the April 9th Friday prayer to the Congregations Act initiative. Introducing the campaign in his sermon, he explained: “Religion is not local; it is not ethnic; it is not selfish. Rather it is an international force for good, encouraging its followers to assist one another and look after the welfare of one another, irrespective of others’ religion, creed, or skin colour.” Inspired, those in attendance contributed three times the target $100 asked of each congregation. Find out more here:

For a complete list of the registered congregations and more information on Congregations Act, visit

This project was created by eight young Canadian Faiths Act Fellows, Erica Spracklin, Areeba Jawaid, Elyse Brazel, Sara Eftekhar, Nick Pang, Maya Smith, Danny Richmond and Hilary Keachie.

The Faiths Act Fellowship is a program of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation working in partnership with the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago. In its inaugural year, this program has brought together 30 young people aged 18-25 selected from the US, the UK and Canada.

In interfaith pairs, after intensive training, the fellows began their work on the 1st of October 2009 and for eight months have worked in grassroots faith communities in their home countries to raise funds and awareness about the campaign against deaths from malaria (see