2012 Making a Difference Essay Contest Winners

The NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund and Episcopal Relief & Development are proud to present the winners of the World Malaria Day 2012 – Making a Difference Essay Contest!

Our contest asked the question, what can you do to make a difference in the global fight against malaria?
Both of our winners wrote eloquently and creatively about how they could effect change in the world. So without further adou:

  • Our First Place winner, Adriana Embus from Columbus, GA is an 11th grader attending the BrookstoneSchool. Her essay has been reprinted below.
  • Our Second Place winner, Nimansha Jain from Omaha, NE is an 11th grader attending MillardNorthHigh School.

Congratulations to both of our winners! Thank you for choosing to Make a Difference in the fight against malaria.

First Place Winner Adriana Embus – Winning Essay:


An early bird chirps in the nearby tree.


The sun rises; the first ray of sunlight penetrates my bedroom window.


I faintly open my eyes, and notice that- SPLAT!-my Liberian friend, Moselyn, finally kills the annoying mosquito flying around my bed net. What Moselyn, along with hundreds of my West African friends, doesn’t realize is the possible danger a mosquito can be.

I had traveled to Virginia, Liberia three days earlier. My school’s service team had tirelessly planned workshops on leadership, HIV and AIDS, and American culture. Arriving there, we were ecstatic to embrace the Liberian culture and learn about every aspect of it. We met hundreds of students, bonding through interactive group activities and learning about their home lives. Determined to make a difference, we constantly looked for any material things they were in need of. Instead, we found none.

One day, however, we were guided to a nearby orphanage. Upon our arrival, I noticed a horrific scene out of the corner of my eye. In a small bedroom, with only a small table and bed, there were three children curled into fetal positions with chill bumps all along their arms and legs. Turning around to find an adult, I asked the director of the orphanage why they were so cold. Responding in a deep Liberian-English accent, she said, “Malaria.” We soon discovered that we had been looking for the wrong thing all along, and we noticed that the orphanage was in need of something intangible not material: knowledge. They needed knowledge about this disastrous disease called malaria.

Along with my other team members, I soon tweaked my workshop to focus on malaria, which is very prevalent throughout Liberia and all of West Africa. With much work and determination, we taught about all the aspects of malaria, the ways of contracting it, techniques to fight it, and the effect it has caused throughout the world. What most shocked us it that people were surprised that parasites, such as the mosquito by my window, are what transmit the disease.

Our workshops soon reached over one thousand Liberian nationals. Knowledge was their necessity all along. Only with a few pieces of information did we find a way to make a difference in Liberia, and our team was determined to make an even bigger one back home.

Today, our team continues to educate our school and community about the drastic effects malaria has caused around the world. We encourage our school to participate in the efforts organizations have led to fight this disease and lead projects to benefit both our friends inLiberia but also any country dealing with the problem of malaria.

Anyone can make a difference. It only requires some knowledge, ability to translate it and willingness to serve the world. We can all learn to-SPLAT!- that mosquito and eradicate malaria. Let’s do it.