The problems caused by malaria might be a world away, but a Lake Zurich businesswoman is doing her part to battle the issue from here.
Since Laura Cappelletti opened the doors to Yin Yang Pilates & Yoga on April 18, 2008, she has donated money to purchase malaria nets in Africa every time a client has purchased a private package of Pilates sessions.
"We have raised over $4,000," Cappelletti said. "I, personally along with my family, have volunteered with the United Nations Foundation for over 10 years."
Cappelletti said she was moved to action at a luncheon she attended through her work with St. Anne School. At the event, the movie "When did I see you hungry?" was presented.
"The movie was a 'life changer,'" she says. "Seeing the vast numbers of people suffering in the world. My dear friend, Keely Solimene, introduced me to United Nations Foundation over 15 years ago and I have been working with them in different capacities ever since."
She was further inspired after she joined a book club that studied the poor around the world and the causes and solutions to poverty issues.
"I made a decision to work with United Nations Foundation and Nothing But Nets because I felt it was the greatest need and it had an easy fix," she said. "It wasn't long ago that a child died every 30 seconds from malaria. Today, the rate is every 60 seconds."
Just a few years ago, malaria was the number one killer of refugees in Africa, she adds. Working in close partnership with the UN Refugee Agency, Nothing But Nets provided more than 1 million nets to African refugees. The results were measurable and dramatic, she says. Now malaria is the fifth leading cause of death among refugees.
"We're making real progress, but still have much work to do," Cappelletti says. "I feel that we can eradicate malaria. We did in the U.S., then why not other countries?"
Yin Yang Pilates donates one bed net to a family in Africa through Nothing But Nets for every 5-, 10-, or 20-private session package purchased. Cappelletti sends an email to the client that says "A family is protected and alive because of you."
"Wellness begins with knowing we are contributing, helping, sharing," Cappelletti says. "Social justice brings wellness and joy to the soul.
Everyone is our family whether they live next door or halfway across the globe: there are no boundaries when one is suffering."
Yin Yang Pilates & Yoga is located at 111 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich.
For more information on the studio, visit yinyangpilates.com. For more information on Nothing But Nets or to donate directly to the organization, visit nothingbutnets.net.