WEST HARTFORD, CONN., December 6, 2010 – Lydia Henning, a sixth grade student at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford wanted to help, “to do something good for children.” Lydia, with help from fellow student Moon Dasgupta, has done that, and more, by raising funds to support the Measles Initiative, a partnership led by the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.
Lydia says she has been interested for a long time in helping the children of Africa. She did some research on the Internet and found a Website for the Measles Initiative. Though she had heard of measles, Lydia says she really didn’t know much about the disease and thought she could learn something while helping to raise money to vaccinate children against this deadly disease. She contacted the American Red Cross, a partner in the Measles Initiative and learned about the “Vaccinate a Village” project.
Lydia spoke to her Team Leader at school, who suggested she discuss her idea with the school Principal, Michael Renkawitz. Mr. Renkawitz says it is unusual to have a sixth grade student propose such a project and to follow through, as Lydia has. “There is a community service requirement for older students, but Lydia wanted to do this to help children, not to earn any school credits.”
Lydia launched a “Vaccinate a Village” fundraising campaign at King Philip. She recruited her friend, Moon Dasgupta, to help her manage the project. The girls made a poster explaining the village concept. They sold cutouts of people for $1.00, the cost to vaccinate one person; a house for $5.00, the cost to vaccinate a family; and schools for $10.00. As the cutouts were sold, they were hung on windows in the cafeteria to build a village. The campaign ran from November 3 through November 12. The students had a $500 goal – the cost to vaccinate a village – and were able to exceed that, raising a total of $566.00.
Lydia’s mother, Adele Patterson, is proud of her daughter. “Lydia did the planning of this project all on her own. She made regular announcements to the entire school explaining the project’s fundraising goals and also included an educational piece about the disease.”
American Red Cross Connecticut Region CEO Dianne Auger thanked the girls and praised their dedication. “The Measles Initiative is a campaign carried out mainly by youth. These girls are wonderful examples of how young people can truly make a difference in our world today.”
Lydia Henning, right, stands with the fundraising poster the Vaccinate a Village Project
at King Philip School in West Hartford. Lydia initiated the project, a fundraiser for the Measles Initiative,
and recruited fellow student Moon Dasgupta, left, to help with the effort.
(Left photo) Lydia Henning, a sixth grade student at King Philip School in West Hartford,
stands in front of a window representing donations to the Vaccinate a Village fundraiser she initiated at her school. The project raised more than $530 to vaccinate children in Africa against measles.
(Right photo) Lydia Henning, right, and Moon Dasgupta, left, mark the progress of the
Vaccinate a Village fundraising effort at King Philip School in West Hartford.
Lydia initiated the project and enlisted help from fellow student Moon Dasgupta.
The fundraiser exceeded its goal, raising more than $530 to vaccinate children in Africa against measles.
About the Measles Initiative
The Measles Initiative – a partnership led by the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization – aims to reduce global measles mortality through mass vaccination campaigns and by strengthening routine immunization.
For less than US $1, a child can be safely and effectively vaccinated against measles, making it one of the most cost-effective health interventions available.
Initially focused on Africa, where the disease burden was highest, the Measles Initiative provides technical and financial support to governments, struggling to control the spread of this disease.