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Media Contact: Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802, 443-220-3269 cell, esollie@lwr.org

Lutherans Invite Students to Help End Malaria

Baltimore, December 22 2011The Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) and the ELCA Malaria Campaign today announced several new opportunities for college and university students at Lutheran schools to engage in the global fight against malaria. The programs, funded by the generous support of Arne and Ruth Sorenson of Washington, D.C., will help equip and inspire young leaders to make a difference in the global effort to end malaria deaths.

Malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, kills more than 800,000 people a year, most of them children in Africa. Every 45 seconds, a child dies of malaria.

“Our goal with this gift is to educate, equip and mobilize,” Arne Sorenson said. “We want to raise awareness of the malaria epidemic among students on Lutheran campuses, to equip them to inspire their fellow students, teachers, and communities, and assist them in mobilizing their communities to make a difference in the fight against this devastating disease. By investing in helping students raise funds for malaria, we’re able to multiply the impact of our own gift to reach even more people in need with life-saving prevention and treatment – and also helping to develop the next generation of leaders in the church.”

The LMI Fellowship, through Lutheran World Relief, will provide opportunities for students at campuses of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to manage awareness and fundraising campaigns in their campus communities. Each of the students will receive a stipend and a program budget as well as funding to travel to Africa to learn firsthand about how malaria affects communities and how the Lutheran Malaria Initiative is making a difference.

The Sorenson College and Campus Ministries Program and Sorenson Social Media Grants, through the ELCA Malaria Campaign, will provide grant funding for students at colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to implement awareness and fundraising campaigns at their schools. Students chosen as grant recipients must make a commitment to emphasize the ELCA Malaria Campaign on their campus for two years, through programs ranging from guest speakers to video contests.

Students in both programs will make a two-year commitment, and will receive training in fundraising.

“This is an innovative, forward-looking partnership,” said John Nunes, president and CEO of LWR. “We are so grateful to the Sorensons for making this exciting program a reality. Not only will the students who receive the grants have an unparalleled learning experience, the funds they raise through their communities will have a very real impact on communities in Africa struggling with the scourge of malaria.”

“The generous gift from ELCA members Arne and Ruth Sorenson enables the ELCA Malaria Campaign to build up three strengths of the ELCA: students with a passion to be engaged in God’s work of healing and restoring community, longstanding partnerships with churches in Africa who are creating programs for malaria campaign activities, and a strong network of 26 colleges and universities as well as campus ministries,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative is a partnership of Lutheran World Relief and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to end malaria deaths by 2015. LMI is made possible through support from the United Nations Foundation.

The ELCA Malaria Campaign, working through Lutheran Churches in Africa, is uniquely positioned to provide mosquito nets, insecticides, medication, health care, education and more to eliminate deaths from this disease — for good.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. For more information, visit lwr.org.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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