A cohort of 30 young people, representing many faiths, raise awareness and resources to fight deaths caused by malaria.
Recognizing that religious pluralism can either be a source of conflict or cause for cooperation, many groups around the world strive to bring young people of diverse faiths together—to act on the values their faiths hold in common. Serving together deepens the faith commitment of each person, while also enabling each to see another perspective.
A project launched by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and coordinated by Malaria No More and the Interfaith Youth Core, the Faiths Act Fellows work towards achieving the United Nation’s Millenium Development Goals regarding malaria. From the Tony Blair Faith Foundation website:
The disease kills over a million vulnerable people every year, mainly young children and women in Africa. It costs Africa over $12 billion a year in health costs and lost productivity, making poor countries even poorer. Worldwide, there are more than 350 million malaria infections each year. More than 1 million of these cases end in death; others scar their victims for life with permanent brain damage.
Fellows come from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. They train for two months in London, Chicago, and with primary health care partners in Africa — and then return to their home countries for 8 months of full-time, stipended service.
Fellows serve in faith-based organizations that also work on malaria-related issues. From the website:
Fellows will accomplish this primarily by doing outreach presentations and workshops for young people and their allies in local faith communities, including congregations, faith-based schools and religious or inter-religious student groups at local universities. Following their initial presentations and workshops, the Fellows will provide counsel and additional training to each active group as they enact their ideas, helping to ensure collective success in inter-religious partnerships and in raising awareness and life-saving funds.
The application is due January 15.
If you are interested in helping out but can’t apply to become a fellow, here are some other ways to get involved with the Faiths Act Campaign. Also check out the interfaith social network Bridge Builders on Ning, operated by the Interfaith Youth Core.
To learn more about the interfaith youth movement, check out the work of the Interfaith Youth Core based in Chicago, and read its founder Eboo Patel’s memoir Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation.
* Photo above taken from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and copyright Lucas Foglia.