Ten-year-old Sheila is on a mission to talk about the dangers of malaria and to make sure her family and community understand how important it is to spread the net.
A student at Nayikura Primary School in northeastern Ghana, Sheila didn't take much interest in extracurricular activities until Right To Play was introduced to her class. According to her teacher and Right To Play-trained Coach, Daniel Akadigre, Sheila engaged in her lessons through play. It was also how she discovered her ability to help impact and change her community.
Through weekly play-based activities, including specially-designed health games like Under the Net, Shelia learned about the dangers of malaria. She learned how to recognize its symptoms and ways of preventing it, she also learned how she could transfer that knowledge to her own life to protect her health.
"Sheila consistently asked questions and made contributions during our Reflect-Connect-Apply discussions at the end of each game," says Coach Daniel. "So I was not surprised when her mother told me Sheila was insisting every child in her family and neighbourhood needed a mosquito net to sleep under."
In Sheila's house, there was only one net and her parents used it until Sheila badgered her parents into buying a second net to protect herself and her sister from malaria.
In 2012, malaria killed an estimated 627,000 people. Ninety per cent of those deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana. Despite being treatable and preventable, malaria remains the top cause of death of children under five, killing roughly one child every minute.
Sheila is trying to change that number.