Alessandro Lauria

Alessandro Lauria

When Alessandro was 4, they moved to Ghana for a year, where his mother volunteered on a maternal/ infant health project. 

Alessandro had malaria three times before his 5th birthday. Perhaps just as traumatic is that he had to helplessly watch as his friends suffered from it as well. He was living in Ghana at the time, but the images and experiences seared themselves deep inside him. They traveled with him to Colorado where, at just 12 years old, he knew the only way to combat that old familiar feeling of helplessness was to tackle the mosquito-borne disease head-on. Enter his brainchild: The Malaria Defense Project.  When he and his mother returned to Senegal, Alessandro was motivated to “make as big a difference as possible” in preventing malaria in Mboro, a village of 10,000.  

After a cab seven-hour cab ride to Dakar, he purchased as many mosquito nets as he could afford with the money raised for the trip — a total of 481 nets. The day after he got the nets, they loaded some of them onto a donkey cart and then took them to the clinic by the beach.  All the women in the town lined up for the nets and came up one by one, as he handed out nets.

The Malaria Defense Project is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to distributing insecticide-treated nets to villages in sub-Saharan African countries. In just two years their “Nets in Action” campaign has distributed nearly 2,000 nets. In addition to this, Alessandro often spends his free time giving presentations to local schools, civic organizations and churches about the importance of eradicating the disease.

For a variety of reasons, malaria rarely captures the media’s attention. This makes it all the more astonishing that Alessandro is so committed to this fight.

Alessandro Lauria has appeared in the following PEACE Fund Radio episodes: