An internationally-renowned opera singer from Iowa is honored for his generosity toward a campaign to fight malaria.
Simon Estes, a native of Centerville, is credited with helping raise over $500,000 for Nothing But Nets — an organization that distributes nets and other malaria treatments to protect families in sub-Saharan Africa.
“I feel very honored and humbled to have been able to save children’s lives in Africa,” Estes said.
The 79-year-old Estes said most people are likely unaware the disease, caused by a mosquito bite, claimed 429,000 lives worldwide in 2015. Most of the deaths occurred in Africa.
Estes first learned of the problem in 2010 when he performed at the closing ceremony for the World Cup soccer tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The moderator mentioned that every 30 seconds, a child was dying from malaria because they didn’t have a net under which to sleep that had been chemically treated,” Estes said. “One-million children were dying every year and 90 percent of the deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Proceeds from CD sales of Estes’ album “Save The Children, Save Their Lives” have benefited the Nothing But Nets campaign, which presented Estes with a “lifetime impact award” on Monday at an event on the Ankeny campus of Des Moines Area Community College.
In December of 2013, Estes gave a benefit concert at Hilton Coliseum in Ames where he performed with 1,100 students from 52 high schools across Iowa. The choir was named the “Iowa Students Care Choir.” The concert raised $100,000 for the Nothing But Nets campaign.