Media Releases

U of T Faiths Act Fellows mobilize against malaria

April 14, 2010

TORONTO, ON – During Faiths Act Week, April 25 to May 1, 2010, Tony Blair Foundation Fellows Areeba Jawaid and Hilary Keachie from the University of Toronto will join forces to raise awareness, funds and resources to combat malaria across the world.  

Malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease, remains a critical threat to global health. More than 300 million people contract malaria annually and one million die. 

During and leading up to World Malaria Day, April 25, 2010, the fellows will host an array of events that bring together people of all faiths to help combat malaria. One major initiative – Congregations Act – challenges congregations of diverse faiths from across Canada to take the “10 Nets for 2010 Challenge” to raise $100 for ten life saving bednets. From the Maritimes to the Prairies, numerous faith communities have signed on to this initiative including congregations in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Supported by Muslims, Jews and Christians, Congregations Act illustrates how faith communities can work together for the common good in civil society both at home and abroad. 

Other events taking place during Faiths Act Week include: 

  • Solidarity Walk: 250 students from high schools across Toronto will participate in an interfaith walk-a-thon on April 25, 2010.  
  • Knick Knack for Nets: Items from various residences will be collected and sold in a large yard sale on April 24, 2010 at Bloor Street United Church. Along with cheap gently used items, there will be face painting, cotton candy, popcorn, and freshly baked goods.  

“Faiths Act is a clear example of the positive impact faith communities can, and do, have on the world, especially when they work together,” said Jawaid.  

Keachie says she would, “encourage people of all ages to get involved in multi-faith action such as Faiths Act Week because it’s an opportunity to learn about different cultures and religions while living out shared values of compassion and justice.” 

The Faiths Act Fellowship in Canada was unveiled by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation alongside the Belinda Stronach Foundation in December 2008. 

People of all faith are being urged to take part in Faiths Act Week. All funds raised will be matched by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. For more information on Faiths Act Week, visit: http://www.congregationsact.ca/ 

Below are brief biographical sketches of the UofT Fellows:

Hilary Keachie
Hilary is 23 years old, Christian, and received a degree in education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She graduated from McGill with a bachelor’s degree in world religions, political science and French language in May 2008. Hilary gained experience in interfaith work as a volunteer under the supervision of Anthony Mansour at the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism where she gained exposure to interfaith projects on both the micro and macro levels. She is fluently bilingual in French and English and has networks with faith communities in both Montreal and Toronto. Hilary is inspired to mobilize other young people to form interfaith relationships and further the Millennium Development Goals.

Areeba Jawaid
Areeba is 22 years old, Muslim, a student at the University of Toronto working on her Bachelor of Science in human biology and geography. She has a passion and demonstrated track record for community service. She was first interested in community service after her experience volunteering at the HIV/AIDS Conference in 2006. Since then she has worked with the Centre of Community Partnerships and The Multi-faith Centre at the University, where she has served on various subcommittees, planning community service and interfaith events. She is fluent and English and Urdu. Areeba strongly believes in empowering youth and people of faith to make a positive difference in their communities

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For more information, please contact:

Richard Chambers
U of T Multi-Faith Centre
Office: 416-946-3119
Email: richard.chambers@utoronto.ca

University of Toronto media relations
416-978-0100
media.relations@utoronto.ca