El Hadj’s daughter, 11, was just about to start school in her village in Senegal when she contracted malaria and eventually died. Malaria claims a life every 45 seconds.
But El Hadj vowed that malaria would never kill again in his village. He worked with a group of local women to protect the village. They cleaned the village and surrounding area of trash and removed standing water. In addition they gave new mothers and their babies mosquito nets. They taught the mothers how to use the nets, tucking in all the corners so no mosquitoes could bite them.
Next El Hadj recruited the village chief to go door to door to ensure every family used their nets nightly. They were fined 50 cents if they weren’t using the nets and the money went into a pot to pay for emergency transportation if there were emergencies.
Results? Amazing! The village has gone from 3,500 malaria cases a year to nearly none. Now they are going from village to village to implement the same program. Because of their effort, nearly 50,000 people are protected from malaria.
El Hadj has turned tragedy into triumph.
(Information from Fast Company.com, David Arquette)