Citizens of Flanders collected over 7 million Euros to fight diarrhea worldwide

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Rode Kruis VlaanderenCitizens of Flanders collected over 7 million Euros to fight diarrhea worldwide.

It was the 6th edition of ‘Music for Life’, organized by the radio channel ‘Studio Brussels’. Three of the hosts were voluntarily locked up in a Glass House seven days before Christmas. They survived without any food, solely on juice. Listeners could buy songs and the money was donated to the Red Cross in Flanders for their fight against diarrhea. In this way, the Glass House inhabitants tried to raise awareness in the Flemish community of the silent disaster of diarrhea worldwide.

‘Music for Life’ aimed to confront the situation in Nepal, but highlight the problem of diarrhea worldwide. Diarrhea is, together with pneumonia, the most common cause of death amongst children younger than 5 years old. Though it is easy to prevent and to recover from, only 39% of children affected by diarrhea in developing countries are treated effectively. This is mostly the consequence of ignorance about the most suitable medical treatment.

People suffering from diarrhea actually die because of dehydration and moisture loss. Diarrhea, generally, is a consequence of lack of clean water and sanitation. In 88% of cases, it is due to unsafe water, and inappropriate sanitation and hygiene. 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

Diarrhea can be prevented easily by washing hands with soap. By increasing access to clean water, the incidence of diarrhea decreases by 47%.

Everything raised through ‘Music for Life’ was given to the Red Cross in Flanders, which has several programs for the prevention and treatment of diarrhea. Those programs facilitate access to safe drinking water and promote hygiene.

If you were in Flanders during that week, you could not miss all the fundraising events: people sold everything you can imagine, played music, lost weight, made calendars etc. People did the craziest things to help and raise money for children with diarrhea. Despite the financial crisis, ‘Music for Life’ raised a record sum.

Similar projects exist in the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Kenya.

* Statistics come from reports by UNICEF and WHO, 2009.

Website Music for Life:

Website Red Cross Flanders:

The former 5 editions highlighted the plight of:

- Orphans who lost their parents due to HIV/Aids (2010)

- Malaria (2009)

- Refugees: Mothers and children (2008)

- Clean Water (2007)

- Victims of Landmines (2006)