UNICEF and HSBC launch campaign to help children stay with families
YEREVAN, Amenia, 4 September 2008 – UNICEF and HSBC Bank Armenia launched a joint campaign “Help a Child Stay with a Family!”. The goal of the campaign is to support disadvantaged families in Armenia and prevent placement of children from these families into orphanages.
UNICEF Representative in Armenia, Sheldon Yett said: “Families form the first line of defense for children. This is the key message that UNICEF and HSBC would like to convey with this campaign. The evidence from around the world is clear. Children growing up without parental care are at greater risk of violence, exploitation, trafficking and discrimination than children who grow up in a family setting.”
Approximately 80 per cent of 1,300 children currently living in Armenia’s orphanages have at least one living parent. Many of the children in orphanages in Armenia are not true orphans. Many have been placed there because their families are facing severe economic hardship. It is clear that we need to focus more attention on supporting families to care for their children at home.
“An orphanage cannot replace a family," stressed Mr. Yett. "Within a family is the best place for a child to be, a place where he or she is surrounded by care, love and protection and has the opportunity to develop to his or her full potential."
HSBC and UNICEF have set up a special fund within the framework of the joint program for donations to support outreach programmes that help vulnerable families.
HSBC Bank Armenia Chief Executive Officer, Tim Slater emphasized: “HSBC always builds its Corporate Sustainability in Armenia taking into account the Armenian values and traditions. HSBC Bank Armenia passionately believes that every child deserves a family and for this purpose it accepted UNICEF’s invitation to join in setting up a fund that will ensure retention of family unit as it is the core value and strength in Armenia."
“The Government is committed to keeping children within their families. On behalf of the National Child Protection Committee I welcome this joint initiative of HSBC and UNICEF that will support the implementation of the state policy on children”, Minister of Labor and Social Issues, Arsen Hambartsumyan said.
Funds raised during the three-year joint campaign will be used to meet basic needs of vulnerable families in Armenia in consultation with public bodies and civil society organisations working in the area of child protection.
“Help a Child Stay with a Family”
For more information, please, contact:
Emil Sahakyan, Communication Officer, UNICEF Armenia
Tel.: (374 10) 52 35 46, 56 64 97
Fax.: (374 10) 58 05 16