Dramatic story of malaria inspires Lord Speaker of the House of Lords0Comments
Just last week, the House of Lords held an event in support of Live Below the Line an exciting campaign to fight extreme poverty. It challenges the British public to get sponsored to live on a budget of £1 a day for all food and drink for five days from 7-11 May. This gives a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who live on this budget everyday for everything while raising money for international development charities including Malaria No More UK.
Several members of the House of Lords signed up to the campaign including Baroness Jenkin (Chair of Conservative Friends of International Development) and Lord McConnell who both took part last year – when the campaign first launched.
Lord McConnell described using raisins to sweeten his porridge to keep him going through the five day challenge, and having to eat burnt curry when his cooking skills were put to the test one night. Baroness Jenkin said how much she enjoyed sharing meals with others who were living below the line last year and that she would organise a soup kitchen again this year in the House of Lords for members taking part.
Baroness D’Souza, Lord Speaker, addressed the group, and promised them she would take part. She told us about why she is such a passionate supporter of the effort to end global poverty and shared with us her own harrowing story of the impact of malaria.
“When I was working in Mozambique during the civil war in the 1980s, I travelled to the north to meet a group of people who were about to be released by Renamo who had held them captive for several years at the Renamo headquarters in what used to be the Gorongosa National Park. This desperate group of a few women and babies, and one or two younger men were handed over at a bridge which they had to cross. I watched them struggle, the women in bits of sacking and one young boy of about 16 years staggering as he tried to walk. They finally made it across the bridge and slumped to the ground, too traumatised to even look at me let alone attempt to talk. One felt they were holding themselves together both physically and mentally from what must have been years of abuse and deprivation. The young boy collapsed and began to have a violent seizure – he was clearly suffering from cerebral malaria, sweating, shivering and shaking. After a while he stopped fitting but a few minutes after that another seizure gripped him, we watched helplessly – unable at this stage to provide any relief at all. He died at our feet. A young man with his future before him, having survived the terror of the Renamo camps, died from a disease which we have the means to prevent and to treat. A terrible waste of a life.”
Now Baroness D’Souza is going to Live Below the Line to raise funds and awareness for those living in poverty.
Learn more about Baroness D’Souza’s work at the House of Lords.
Sign up to Live Below the Line