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British Airways staff visit street children centres in Cairo

CAIRO, 10 May 2007 – This week, a group of British Airways staff members are visiting Egypt to witness projects for children supported through money collected from the Change for Good programme. A generous £200,000 has been donated by British Airways to fund shelters and centres that work to protect street children in the greater Cairo area. More than 5,000 children have benefited from the funding, thanks to the generosity of British Airways’ customers.

Five British Airways Cabin Crew had the opportunity to visit centres that have been set up to help street children in the city. The number of street children is a big issue in Egypt and is on the rise. Estimates on the number of street children range from 200,000 to one million, a quarter of the street child population is believed to be less than 12 years old.

The BA delegation visited five centres that support street children to reintegrate into society. Girls are particularly at risk and one special reception centre – the first of its kind in Egypt – offers protection to pregnant street girls, young street mothers and their babies. Young mothers can stay at the centre until the age of 21 by which time they have gained the skills necessary to re-integrate back into mainstream society.

Adam Johnson and Hisham Moussa, BA Cabin Crew, were deeply moved by the stories of the children they visited in the centres. Many children were forced to survive in very adverse and difficult situations. Exposed to a wide range of risky behaviours, they face exploitation and abuse; the children sleep under bridges, in parks, and in isolated areas. Despite the lower percentage of female street children compared to males, girls on the street are particularly vulnerable. They face all kinds of physical and sexual abuse and are exposed to many risks such as pregnancy and contracting illnesses such as HIV.  

Since 2003, UNICEF has been supporting a number of initiatives for the protection of street children. The current Good for Change fund which was received in 2006 has enabled reaching 5,000 street children through eight reception centres in partnership with five NGOs. “We are very proud of Change for Good and the vital work it helps UNICEF to achieve. I would like to thank our customers who donate their change and our colleagues who are dedicated to the programme” said Helen Rayner, British Airways Cabin Crew.

The Change for Good programme was launched in April 1994, collecting spare currency donated by customers travelling on board British Airways flights. Over the past 13 years, Change for Good has raised £23 million, helping to support UNICEF’s work with some of the world’s most vulnerable children in more than 50 countries.

The success of the programme is largely due to the Cabin Crew who act as "Champions" in the sky. They make announcements on a voluntary basis during flights, collect loose change and offer project information to customers.

“We are very grateful to British Airways for supporting this initiative to help street children. We know that this funding has made a difference in helping children deal with the daily risks they face while living on the streets and guiding them towards making choices for a better future” said Erma Manoncourt, UNICEF Representative in Egypt.

About Change for Good

In April 1994 British Airways and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, launched ‘Change for Good’. This innovative programme is dedicated to raising money for some of the world’s most needy children. Now in its thirteenth year the partnership has raised more than £23 million pounds for UNICEF’s work in over 50 countries and is one of the most successful corporate fundraising partnerships of its kind.

Change for Good works by encouraging British Airways customers and staff to donate any spare foreign currency. During flights Change for Good videos are screened and cabin announcements are made in an effort to promote the programme. There are more than 2,350 British Airways cabin crew members who are supporters of the programme, they are known as Change for Good Champions. In addition to the cabin crew, there are collection points across British Airways offices so ground staff can also donate to the programme.

In 2006 alone Change for Good helped improve the lives of more than 20,000 children across the world.

About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information please contact:

Hana Francis, British Airways Egypt PR Representative, Tel: +20-26395128; email: hanaf@actionprgroup.com

Gina Dafalia. Communication Officer, UNICEF UK. Tel: +44-207-312-7695 email: ginad@unicef.org.uk

Iman Morooka, Communication Officer, UNICEF Egypt, Tel: +202-526-5083 (ext. 206), e-mail: imorooka@unicef.org


 

 

 

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