British entertainment entrepreneur Simon Fuller, actor David Arquette, US Smash star Katharine McPhee, soul singer Aloe Blacc, African superstar Yvonne Chaka Chaka and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers, are all sharing their malaria stories in support of Malaria No More UK’s democratic awareness campaign Mozzy Air.
Mozzy Air is a fictitious airline that flies to over 100 malaria destinations and features powerful stories from people from all walks of life across the UK, US and Africa affected by malaria. It is brought to life through an interactive infographic of a world map with flight paths to malarious countries.
“The reason I’ve chosen to support the malaria fight, which isn’t widely known, is that malaria is a special cause for me for lots of reasons,” shared Simon Fuller. "Firstly, my Dad was an RAF pilot in the Second World War and, during a spell working in Burma, he sadly contracted malaria. It was the type of malaria that reoccurs and so he suffered from it his whole life. That was my first introduction to malaria and just how serious it can be. Fortunately, we had the resources to get the necessary medicine and he lived to a ripe old age.The next thing that happened that introduced me to malaria in a more direct way, was when my Dad left the RAF and decided to become a teacher. Rather than working in England, he decided to teach overseas, so at the age of five I found myself living in Ghana, West Africa – a country I grew to love. It’s also a country where malaria affects the entire population, all 24 million people are at risk.
“So at the age of five I was given this little white pill, to help prevent malaria, which my Mum used to put into chocolates because it tasted really bad. I took this pill every day for five years. It was also my job to spray the house every day with the mosquito spray to keep the mosquitoes at bay, and so malaria really has been quite a significant part of my life. Some of my fondest memories are of my childhood in Ghana. I truly love that country and have been back many times. I’m proud when I see the work that is being achieved in Ghana and across Africa thanks to many organisations including Malaria No More UK. Ghana has become a shining light in the battle against malaria and with our help, long may it continue. So that’s my story”.
Mozzy Air aims to raise mass awareness about the impact and scale of malaria which today affects around half of the world’s population. It also encourages British travellers to get protected before heading overseas and asks people to interact by ‘sharing their own story’ on malaria. Personal stories are a compelling way to increase understanding about malaria, a preventable disease that claims the life of a child every minute.
“I’ll never forget my recent trip to Senegal with Malaria No More where I met a guy named El Hadj.,” said David Arquette. “He’d lost his 11-year old daughter to malaria, and made it his life’s goal that no other parent would have to suffer the same loss that he did. He’s since gone around to his village and 66 villages in the surrounding area and they’ve reduced the rate of malaria down from 3,500 deaths last year to almost non-existent. I was humbled and inspired by all I saw.”
“I journeyed with Malaria No More to see the primary school I built in Burkina Faso, West Africa where malaria is the main reason children miss school,” adds Katharine McPhee. “I left incredibly touched by the fact that something as simple as a mosquito net transforms the life of a baby, student, headmistress, or a new mother.”
Aloe Blacc says: "I had an eye-opening trip earlier this year, leaving my home in the US to visit Ghana with Malaria No More UK. I wanted to learn all I could about malaria and see its day-to-day impact on people’s lives and the country at large. We had an unforgettable visit to a primary school where I asked a classroom full of children: “Who has been affected by malaria?” Every single child raised their hand. The scale of the disease was jaw dropping".
To help drive the campaign, British fashion brand and Malaria No More UK supporter Jack Wills have provided an incentive: those who share their story are entered into a draw to win a £50 Jack Wills voucher and Malaria No More bracelet – a unisex bracelet currently sold by Jack Wills that is handcrafted in Africa to help save lives from malaria. Four of these prizes will be given away during the campaign.
Mozzy Air has already reached over two million people on Twitter and offers the chance to check in to a flight by using #MozzyAir on Twitter. It has also been promoted on facebook by famous faces including Malaria No More UK Leadership Council Member Andy Murray, whose post read: “I get to travel a lot and this brought a smile to my face: Mozzy Air is a spoof airline from Malaria No More UK. A fun concept with an important message: make sure you know how to protect yourself from malaria, especially if you’re planning to travel…”
Arabella Gilchrist, Communications Director for Malaria No More UK says: “We are inspired by and grateful to everyone who has shared their story so far. We have received a wealth of eclectic personal accounts – each one is a testimony of the human impact caused by malaria and inspires support for our cause. We hope the latest experiences shared through Mozzy Air will fuel further story submissions to help us raise vital awareness to save lives from malaria”.