Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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If you were asked which animal you thought was the world’s deadliest, which terrifying beast would spring to mind?

The Great White Shark?

A venomous snake?

What about the Funnel-Web spider?

Sure, they are mighty scary, but you’ll need to think a little smaller. The truth is, the mosquito is actually considered the deadliest animal on the planet. 

Getting a bite from a mosquito can be an itchy pain for a couple of days for most, but a bite from one of these flying pests can be life-threatening for many around the world.

This World Mosquito Day we’re here to inform you about why mosquitoes are so lethal, why there’s a day dedicated to them and how you can help give them the flick!

Not all mosquitoes are bad guys

Whilst mosquitoes may look the same when we see them flying around, did you know that there are over 3,000 harmless mosquito species?

Many mosquitoes don’t have a particular taste for human blood. The elephant mosquito is the largest non-blood sucking mosquito and is known to eat the larvae of other more harmful mosquitoes, making them an ally of ours!

What kind of diseases do mosquitoes carry?

Whilst there are thousands of mosquitoes on the friendlier side, they didn’t get their ‘deadliest animal’ title for the irritation they caused from their bite.

The three most dangerous mosquitoes belong to the Anopheles, Aedes and Culex species. Lymphatic filariasis, Zika, dengue, yellow fever can all be linked to the Aedes aegypti alone.

In tropical and subtropical regions, the Anopheles mosquito is the main spreader of malaria and can be found all around the world except Antarctica!

In 2016, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported that an estimated 445,000 people died of malaria.

Why is there a day dedicated to mosquitoes?

World Mosquito Day is a day to celebrate the fascinating work of Dr Ronald Ross, who in 1897 was able to discover how malaria spreads.

Dr Ross is responsible for the annual observance and declared after this enormous discovery that World Mosquito Day would be remembered each year.

When is World Mosquito Day this year?

World Mosquito Day falls on Friday 20 August every year.

How can you make a difference this World Mosquito Day?

This World Mosquito Day, join us in the fight to eradicate suffering caused by mosquitoes in remote and rural areas. You can help a child sleep safely at night by providing them with a mosquito net, as this is the most effective way to prevent children from Malaria. 

Your support can change a child’s life and help us reduce the number of diseases contracted from mosquito bites.

The best things about sponsoring children are the relationships that are formed and what it can teach you and your family, says long-time sponsor Karen Wood.

The mother-of-three (pictured below) has been sponsoring children through ChildFund Australia since the 1980s, and says sponsorship has been a mind-opening experience for her and her children.

Sponsorship has changed Karen’s life for the better

“Sponsorship has changed me for the better,” Karen says. “It has taught me to be more considerate of cultural differences. There may be a difference in language and the colour of our skin, but we still have the same needs, physically, mentally, emotionally.

“And as parents have the same concerns about our children, and that goes beyond the colour of our skin and our language.”

Karen’s children have grown up learning about different cultures

Through writing letters to her sponsored children and their families – Diah in Indonesia and Man in Vietnam – Karen’s children have also grown up learning about different cultures and how other children around the world live and grow up.

“With my children, they got to see that what we take for granted – like going to school, a bed to sleep in, a meal on the table, a doctor, dentist, and medicines – and what some children around the world don’t have,” Karen says.

She says it has been “heart-warming” to see how the lives of Diah and Man have changed and how they now have access to education and better healthcare.

Helping children was something that remained close to her heart

Karen first began sponsoring through ChildFund after finishing her nursing degree, and has sponsored children on and off ever since.

While life had been “extremely tough” after her partner passed away and she became a single parent, helping children was something that remained close to her heart. “My life had turned upside down but I got back on my feet, and recommencing sponsorship was back on the table,” Karen says.

“I wanted to instil into my children to be there for others, to be considerate, and really help.”

Being a sponsor with ChildFund has been “like being part of a family”. “I can email or call and I can find things out and I can work out the best way to provide support with my situation,” Karen says.

“If others are thinking of sponsoring I would say without hesitation, go for it. It is just so rewarding.

“You develop lasting friendships.”

Donate today and experience the life-changing journey for yourself 

When you donate to ChildFund Australia, not only do you change a child’s life forever, but you provide your family with a life-changing experience: a journey of change through helping children and their families.

Donating provides a unique opportunity to actively make a difference in the world by providing children living in poverty with hope for the future. 

Interested in helping children through ChildFund Australia? Sign up to donate monthly today and make a difference for up to 1,000 children per year.