Thirty-eight thousand nets. Sixty-eight thousand lives. These are the impressive stats put up by Stephen Curry, the NBA’s single-season three-point-record-holder, as he traveled to Tanzania with the United Nations Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign.
Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, has been a Nothing But Nets Champion for many years. He traveled with the campaign to the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp situated in northwestern Tanzania to deliver life-saving anti-malaria bed nets to residents because malaria is so deadly there. Nothing But Nets supporters – many inspired by Curry – donated money to ensure everyone in the camp is protected by nets.
“After working for several years to raise awareness to fight malaria, it was inspiring to meet people who are at risk for this easily-preventable disease and need our help,” said Curry. “I donated three nets for every three-pointer I made during the 2012-13 season, and now every time I hit a three I will think of the families I met in Tanzania. As a father, I do everything I can to keep my daughter safe. The parents I met in Nyarugusu do the same, but they need help to protect their children from malaria. That’s why I’m challenging all my fans to get involved and support Nothing But Nets.”
Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, located in the Kigoma region, is managed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Sixty-eight thousand refugees live there, most of whom fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, while a smaller number fled Burundi. The distribution of nets was made possible by a partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Tanzania Red Cross Society. Malaria is the most pressing health challenge in the camp – the disease kills the highest number of people and the highest number of children under five. Last year, 62,000 cases of malaria were recorded among the camp’s population of 68,000.
Also joining the trip was Nothing But Nets co-founder and ESPN columnist Rick Reilly.
“How do you sum up a life-changing trip?” asked Reilly. “We met people at Camp Nyarugusu who literally cried when we gave them their net. We met women who’d lost children to malaria, clutching their net like a new diamond necklace. We checked into a hotel an hour away and slept under our own nets and worried about the holes in them. We watched a young NBA superstar, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, get mobbed by kids. They had no idea who he was; they only knew he was going to keep them safe from malaria. We left happy.”
Nothing But Nets Director, Chris Helfrich added, “I want to thank all of our partners who made this possible—from supporters who donated to this campaign, to the NBA, to UNHCR, IFRC, and TRCS. Your support will keep the people of Nyarugusu safe for years to come.”