Tokyo School Raises Nearly $300 for Mosquito Net Campaign

March 30, 2006
By Douglas Gillison
The Cambodia daily

Photo credit: Deborah Krisher-Steele Jon Hall and students at the Nishimachi
International School in Tokyo, Japan.

The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign received an especially large donation this week that was collected as part of a student anti-malaria initiative at a school in Japan.

Starting on March 16, over 30 students at Nishimachi International School in central Tokyo spent five days collecting donations on and around school grounds from teachers, parents and other students, their teacher Jon Hall said Wednesday.

The collection came to almost $300.

"I have done a bit in terms of directing the students and making suggestions, but they have done all the work," Hall wrote in an email.

Two classes of seventh graders were asked to develop a plan to perform community service and soon hit on the idea of collecting donations for malaria prevention in Cambodia, he said.

"I have only one life so I would like to make the best of it," 13-year-old Erina, who took a prominent role in the collections, wrote in an email Wednesday.

"And I think that the people of Cambodia feel the same way, and probably most of the people in the world. Before making my life as perfect as I want to be, I would like to help the people who are less fortunate," Erina wrote.

"So the least I could do is to help prevent as many people in Cambodia from dying of malaria," she added.

Hall, a 44-year-old English teacher originally from the US state of Colorado, said that prior to the collection, he showed the students video footage from a trip he made to Cambodia in December.

The 35-minute film contained images of various sights in Phnom Penh, including the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, as well as the Kirivorn School in Koh Kong province. The school was established in 2001 with funds from students at Nishimachi.

The students are currently away on spring break but after they return on April 4 some of the students involved in the collection will give a presentation to the entire elementary school on malaria prevention and the use the donations will be put to, Hall said.

"I think the seventh graders are attached to the project because of the immediacy of the problem and its prevention, and the 'five dollars, [save] three lives slogan' is very catchy!" Hall wrote, in reference to the Cambodia Daily mosquito net campaign.

He also said that the school hopes to send students on trips to Cambodia to interact with Cambodia students, teach English and participate in building projects.

Hall, who holds an degree in linguistics, says that at a resettlement camp in Thailand he once taught English to Cambodian refugees and as well as refugees from Laos.

"It was this experienced that whetted my appetite for working with the less fortunate in Southeast Asia," he wrote.

"I hope that the mosquito net box can have a permanent place at Nishimachi and that for years to come we can continue to support the program."