Helpful Woman Finds Net Campaign a Good Way to Give

January 10, 2002
By Brian Calvert
The Cambodia Daily

I was at the Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat one day on my vacation when I ran into a simply delightful woman. Her name was Lorian Joy Roberts, and her home was in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We spent a long time wandering around the temple together, talking about her trip to CambodiaÑher first since an original visit in 1991 or 1992.

"I want to do something to help," she finally proclaimed, and went on to ask me if I knew any way she could directly donate money to someone needy in Cambodia.

We discussed the dilemma that affects many people who care about Cambodia: With so many people who need so much, how can one person begin to help?

Roberts wanted to donate $50 to an organization to aid victims of land mines. I told her about an organization that could probably use the money to help fit prosthetics for land mine victims, and thus aid in their rehabilitation.

"What else could I do?" she asked.
"Have you ever heard of the Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign?" I asked
"No," she said. "What is that?"

After two years as the Guy in the Office in Charge of the Campaign, I knew exactly what to tell her.
"The Mosquito Net Campaign provides mosquito nets to rural families to prevent malaria,"I began. I went on to explain to her that the mosquitoes that carry malaria only bite at night. They live in the forested mountainous areas that are often in remote regions, where detection and treatment of the malaria parasite is sometimes difficult.

I explained that thanks to the cooperation of the Ministry of HealthÕs National Malaria Center, the European Union, the World Health Organization and others, nets are distributed to families in these areas. One net covers a family of three and has the potential to save all three lives.

By the time I finished my spiel, Lorian was visibly upset. She wanted to give to both, I could see. But she only had so much money.

"I'll tell you what I'll do, Lorian," I said. "If you donate $50 to Veterans International, I'll match it with a donation to the Mosquito Net Campaign."

Her eyes lit up, and relief washed over her face. Problem solved.

We continued our temple tour and talked about other things. By the time we were through, Lorian had decided to give me $100 to donate, $50 to land mine victims and $50 for malaria prevention. (I think my unkempt appearance and the fact that journalists are often poor concerned her.)

I told her I was going to donate some money, anyway.
We parted ways, and I promised to send her a copy of The Cambodia Daily with her donation listed in it. I'm sure she didn't think I'd write a story about it.
Sorry, Lorian.