The Fourth Annual African Soirée

The Fourth Annual African Soirée

The fourth annual UFAR African Soirée on March 9 was a great success, taking in more than $10,000 for the work of eliminating the “curse” of riverblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Held in the lovely Main Lounge of Mackay Campus Center at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Soirée evening was filled with bright colors, lively entertainment, exotic food, and much enjoyment.

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Sixth Graders Raise Funds to Combat River Blindness

Clara Tazelaar, Ella Nadeau, and Maddy Peel present Dr. Daniel Shungu of United Front Against Riverblindness with a check for $350 to help battle the devastating disease that affects many adults in Africa.

JW sixth-grade students Ella Nadeau, Maddy Peel, and Clara Tazelaar have raised $350 to help battle river blindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo through a fundraiser conducted on their own initiative.

After hearing a moving presentation from Dr. Daniel Shungu, founder and executive director of United Front Against Riverblindness (UFAR), a non-profit organization based in Lawrenceville, N.J., the girls banded together to make a difference, going first to principal Jason Burr for permission to hold a bake sale at their school.

Once the girls launched the fundraiser, also aiding in the effort were teachers Monica Kenah, Kristina Fellin, Valerie Newhall, Kelly Riely, Mary McNamara, and Jacques Bazile.

In accepting the gift, Shungu noted that the students' contribution will have a positive affect on children their own age in the Congo.

"River blindness is an adult disease, but kids are also victims, explained Dr. Shungu They have to take care of the blind adults -- in some villages, 60-70 percent of the adult population is blind. The children will be illiterate if they cannot go to school because they have to help the adults."

Riverblindness is a parasitic disease that that has left 21 million people at risk, 13 million infected and about 70,000 blind. In 1998, a team from the World Health Organization was taken to a remote village in DRC where over 90 percent of the population was blind from the disease, also known as onchocerciasis.

"Before I met Dr. Shungu, I had no idea what river blindness was," said Clara.

"His presentation was very moving," said Maddie, adding that she would like to launch another fundraiser for the organization next year.

UFAR will Begin a Mapping Project for Mosquito Net Distribution

Starting in December 2011, UFAR will begin to determine which villages in the Kasongo CDTI region have already received mosquito nets and which have not. This is to begin a feasibility analysis to determine the need for such nets in this region and if needed, for UFAR to be involved in the co-distribution of nets along with ivermectin.

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Changes to UFAR Board Membership

It is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to two of our board of directors, Drs. Roger Youmans and Dennis Bowers. Separately, both individuals asked to resign from the board to pursue other endeavours but will continue to serve as volunteers to the organization. It is with much gratitude that we have had the invaluable services and guidance from these two individuals and wish them all the best.

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Boys and Girls Orphanage and Launch of Mectizan in Pangi Region

Boys and Girls Orphanage and Launch of Mectizan in Pangi Region

The primary goals for this trip were: 1) to revisit and obtain additional information on the boys orphanage as well as make an initial visit of a related girls orphanage, 2) to participate in the launch and monitoring of the first Mectizan distribution in the health zone of Pangi; and 3) make a courtesy call on several newly appointed key individuals and future collaborators at the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ministry of Health.

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