MEXICO CITY, 28 January 2004 – British Airways Chairman Lord Marshall was joined by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore in Mexico City today for the announcement of a pledge of £150,000 to support UNICEF’s work for the education for all children in the city. Raised through the successful Change for Good partnership between British Airways and UNICEF, this donation brings the total amount Change for Good has contributed to UNICEF´s work for children in Mexico City to £1 million since 1994.
Over 14,000* children and adolescents work on the streets and public spaces of Mexico City. Whereas some of these children live at home or have some connections with parents and family, others have cut their ties with family and communities and call their homes the streets of Mexico City. These children work and live on the streets as a result of extreme poverty, violence within their families and communities and limited access to the education system. An estimated 64,500 children aged 5-14 are not enrolled in school in Mexico City.
The Change for Good donation will go towards UNICEF’s ongoing work to enable all children to attend school and stay there with a focus on working children and children living and working on the streets. Over the next two years the partnership will focus on improving the access and quality of education in order to provide children who have dropped out of school or who work during school hours the opportunity to gain a formal education. The work will also include a focus on combating abuse, violence and discrimination in primary and secondary schools. Working in association with the government, a specific project dealing with these issues will be implemented in 2000 schools throughout the city.
Change for Good has supported UNICEF´s work with children and adolescents who live and work on the streets of Mexico City since the conception of the partnership in 1994. The focus of UNICEF’s work has been on providing education and basic life skills to children in order to break the cycle of poverty. Over the last ten years, Change for Good has supported populations with many different needs, these include: indigenous migrant children and their families, children at risk of commercial sexual exploitation, children who work, children with drug addictions and pregnant teenagers and young mothers. In his role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Sir Roger Moore will this week, visit these Change for Good supported organisations who work to offer better services to these populations.
Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City today UNICEF Mexico Representative Yoriko Yasukawa said: “Child labour is unacceptable; it is an obstacle to the education of all children and adolescents. Children who have to work to support their families miss out on the opportunity to complete their education and therefore to have a better job and a better quality of life. The challenge for the future is to guarantee universal access to a quality basic education and to ensure that these efforts have a decisive impact on children’s lives”
British Airways Chairman Lord Marshall added: “This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Change for Good programme. To date, the successful partnership has raised almost £17 million for children around the world through customers donating their spare currency on board British Airways flights.”
*In a study undertaken by UNICEF and government partners in 1999.