Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 146, Issue 27

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Mr. Firdaus Kharas

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, in recognition of World Malaria Day today, I would like to pay tribute to Canadian Firdaus Kharas. Mr. Kharas is having a significant impact on malaria prevention.

Firdaus Kharas is a creator, producer, educator and humanitarian whose award-winning animated public service announcements feature two funny animated female mosquitoes called Buzz and Bite. These insects have made him a world leader in the prevention of malaria infection. Mr. Kharas states:

Malaria is one of the most prevalent and easy to avoid diseases in the world. We need to make a concerted effort to educate and to provide nets so people in over 100 countries can avoid this debilitating disease . . . It just takes pervasive information campaigns through vehicles that are easily understood by all and in all languages. Animation is certainly a way to reach a broad audience effectively and efficiently.

Mr. Kharas developed the Buzz and Bite public service announcement series of 30 animated spots in order to use humour to educate viewers on the causes and prevention of malaria, particularly by stressing the use of bed nets.

Since its spring 2008 launch, the series has been adapted into 22 languages. The success of the spots has brought in requests from many countries for more language adaptations. By the end of 2009, there will be 1,400 spots in circulation in more than half the countries with malaria, making it the world’s largest public service campaign on any subject.

The public service announcements are available for all who wish to use them anywhere in the world, free of charge. The campaign is strongly supported by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has written an open letter which he calls “an impassioned plea to use the material.”

Firdaus Kharas has been referred to in the media as the “world renowned” director and producer of animation, film and television media. His creations educate, motivate and entertain across cultural barriers. His media positively influences audiences’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, especially among children and young adults.

During a recent interview Mr. Kharas said, “Individuals can make a difference.” If you ask, Firdaus will tell you, “I am just trying to make a small contribution.”

Honourable senators, I know you will join me in congratulating Firdaus Kharas for his work and, more importantly, to recognize an amazing Canadian who makes us all proud of the great difference he is making in the lives of people all over the world.