T-Shirt Sale Raises More Than $900 for Mosquito Net Campaign

Thursday, June 7, 2007
By Ethan Plaut
The Cambodia daily

Photo by Heng Chivoan Eighth grade students at the International School of Phnom Penh sport the T-shirts they designed and sold to raise money for the Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign.

The eighth graders struggled to decide, but not for a lack of ideas. Mosquito man, with a fly swatter for a face? Or possibly a battle scene, with tanks attacking mosquitoes?

Ultimately, the International School of Phnom Penh students picked an emblematic design of a cartoon mosquito wandering across the front of their T-shirts, imploring readers with a simple command: "Squish me."

Scores of children were wearing the shirts Wednesday as they presented the Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net Campaign with the fruit of their labor, a check for $909.39 raised through the sale of the T-shirts and other fundraising efforts earlier in the year.

Each grade at the school dedicates itself to a different charity. This year some students raised money for landmine removal; others worked to provide housing for the needy. But the eighth graders chose to fight malaria and dengue fever in their final year, before moving on to high school.

"By doing this small thing we can help a lot of people," said Maggie Soto, 14, who was chosen to work on the art for the shirt because of her meticulous handwriting.

"I donated to the Malaria Fund and got this free shirt!" it says across the back of the T-shirt in her handwriting. "Over 100,000 Malaria cases in Cambodia in 2006...Save 3 lives for $5."

Neang Neath Lim, 14, said that most of the approximately 250 shirts sold had gone to school staff, students and their families.

She and her classmates had chosen to raise money for mosquito nets because "malaria and dengue fever is a big cause of death in Cambodia," Neang Neath Lim said, adding that her sister had luckily recovered from bouts of both diseases.

And she wasn't the only student with a personal connection to the cause: Rory Webster, also 14, said he missed a week of classes early this schoolyear as he was sick with dengue fever.

"It was hard to get fit again" after recovering from the virus, he said.

But Junho Hyun-sack, 13, was confident the money raised in the campaign-and especially the oversized cartoon mosquito on the front of the shirts-would prevent others from getting the disease, even if his logic was a bit of a reach.

"Actually the bigger bug has an effect psychologically, so the [real] mosquito will fly away," he joked.

Larger sizes are sold out, but the remaining T-shirts are still available for sale from ISPP on Norodom Boulevard.