by Sara, Rushma, Sanjiv and Abdullah, Shireland Collegiate Academy
Last week we took part in a special debating competition with 130 schools from around the country for World Malaria Day. The competition was run by Comic Relief, GSK and Debate Mate, for young people to learn more about the disease and the impact it has, and inspire us to do our bit to take action. Debating in this prestigious competition allowed us to learn about malaria, spread awareness and educate others, as well as widen our knowledge on the destructive effects of this silent assassin.
Hearing first-hand examples of heart-breaking stories about people directly affected by malaria, and who continue to be impacted by malaria, was inspiring. It made us all want to help the vulnerable. During the debating contest, we opposed the motion ‘This house believes that education is the best way to cure malaria’.
Learning the harrowing statistic that every two minutes a child dies of malaria, and knowing that it can easily be prevented and treated, led us to question the integrity of those in power, wondering if they really are doing enough? If we as children have to take the responsibility of eradicating this disease, we must do what previous generations could not, be empathetic and recognise that malaria is a global issue and affects us all.
Winning the competition gave us a sense of gratification and achievement. Fighting for such a worthy cause made the victory even sweeter. Using our voices in the absence of those who cannot has made it all hit closer to home. We were all ecstatic with our win and felt fortunate to have contributed to the vital discussion about ending malaria.