(the above trailer in HD on youtube)
About Measles: In 2000 measles was one of the top killers of children under five. With nearly a decade of work, administering a vaccine that costs only twenty-six cents, a partnership of NGOs (Red Cross, WHO, UNICEF, CDC) has come close to eradicating measles.
Funding for measles eradication has been cut by more than 75%, and since June 2009, more than 30 African countries have experienced measles outbreaks. The World Health Organization estimates that the combined effect of decreased commitment may result in over 500,000 measles deaths a year by 2013, erasing a decade of work.
Just last week, former president Jimmy Carter and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan co-authored an article about the Measles Initiative entitled, "Why Is the World's Most Successful Child Health Intervention Going Begging?"
Our Project: We've been working with a group of Seattle 4th graders from a multilingual public school — teaching them about vaccinations, immunity, and the dimensions of health. The kids immediately grasped the complexities of the situation, and decided to try and make a difference by working to raise money to vaccinate two villages in Ghana this fall (coinciding with a Red Cross / UNICEF campaign).
We have been filming this project, hoping to inspire viewers by showing how a handful of 10-year-olds can make a huge difference for thousands of others. Beyond the film, we intend for these kids' work to serve as a blueprint for future classrooms and youth organizations to follow in their footsteps (curriculum, fundraising ideas, etc). Although this is an independent production, the eventual goal is that the film (and curriculum, etc) will serve as a tool for the American Red Cross to engage kids around the nation. We intend for the film to convey a message of hope, cultural beauty, and inspiration to effect change.
On September 10th we are headed to western Africa for three months to spend time with kids there, to get to know the culture and the other people in this equation — to show not just kids who receive inoculations, but unique human beings with hopes, humor, and dreams.
Your Pledges: Our film has funding — at least to a barebones level — and is currently in production. We've scraped together all our savings, sold everything we didn't need, pinched pennies as tightly as possible, but there is still a lot we can't afford to do; ways this film could be better, more inspiring.
With your help we will be able to afford extra visas, and use ground transport to go more places in western Africa, hopefully to visit an area currently in outbreak. Due to the highly contagious nature of measles, it's impossible to know now exactly where the nearest outbreak will be when we're finally in Africa, so that aspect of the film requires funding for impromptu travel (something, unfortunately, beyond our current means). In addition to travel expenses, there is some further equipment we could use in order to record better sound, film more flexibly, as well as to be better prepared in case of equipment failure. We've already bought everything we absolutely need to shoot this film, but an extra shotgun mic, or a second wide angle lens, these sort of things would allow extra creativity as well as give us a huge safety factor that we currently don't have. Lastly, in the case of vaccine donation boxes (in doctors' offices) pledge funds go specifically to this, rather than into a general fund.
Twenty-six cents of every single pledge will sponsor one vaccination.
Change For A Billion is a registered charity in Washington state, but is not yet a 501(c)(3) — federal recognition of a charity amounts to thousands of dollars in paperwork and can take more than a year for approval. We hope to receive 501(c)(3) status in 2011. For now, if you desire a tax deduction for your donation, you can donate to us through our fiscal administrator. Contact us for details.
Updates: Don't forget to click the "updates" tab at the top of the page, or visit our site (themeasles.org), for measles news and reports on our progess during filming in both Seattle and Africa.
- (31 days)