Fifteen year old Siya Kulkarni, from India, was in London for Commonwealth Week 2012, as her prize as the Winner of Me and My Net 2011, supported by Sumitomo Chemical’s Olyset Net.
During the week, Siya represented her country by carrying the Indian flag at the Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey. She also visited Malaria No More UK, to find out about their malaria awareness campaigns, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to see the insectaries and hear about the scientific work around malaria prevention. With thanks to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, Siya also had the opportunity to tour the Houses of Parliament and witness Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons.
Siya presented her winning campaign to the Commonwealth Nurses Conference, which was attended by nearly 200 delegates from 27 Commonwealth countries. She also presented at a Me and My Net reception for the malaria community in London. She said: “Although I come from India I was very ignorant about the impact that malaria has upon people in affected areas and was shocked by the scale of the problem. I was also struck by how easy it is to protect people with a net as opposed to using sprays or drugs. It is such a simple solution and yet, as a young person, I also know that we do not like being told what to do. I knew that my campaign had to find incentives for young people as a way to engage with them and encourage them to use their nets.
“I decided to split my Kids for Nets campaign to appeal to two age groups and used rhymes and the idea of decorating their nets to engage the 4-10 year-olds; whilst I wanted to show the young adult 11-15 year-olds that their future health and, therefore, their dreams for their future could be threatened.”
The Commonwealth Nurses Federation made a donation to Siya, which will be used to purchase Olyset Nets for distribution in Tanzania.
See Siya’s winning entry, and other award winners, at www.meandmy.net/winners.