British Airways staff visit Ukraine to see how their support is helping children living in institutions
Kyiv, 18 February 2010 - British Airways staff have been visiting UNICEF projects in Ukraine this week to see how, through the Change for Good partnership between British Airways and UNICEF, their support has been helping to provide loving foster homes for children living with HIV who are currently living in institutions.
The visit saw British Airways staff meet with parents and guardians who have been trained to provide the appropriate care that a child living with HIV needs. The group also met several foster families who are helping these children to grow up in a caring family environment.
In March 2007, the Change for Good Programme donated over £285,000 (3.88 million Ukrainian Hryvnias) to UNICEF for a three year project to improve care for children affected by HIV. The funding is helping to prevent children living with HIV from being placed into institutions and also developing a family based care system for HIV affected children who are already living in institutions.
The number of pregnant mothers who are HIV-positive in Ukraine is gradually increasing by 20% - 30% every year. In 2008, the HIV prevalence in pregnant women reached 0.55%, one of the highest in Europe. As a result of this rise, there has been an increase in the number of babies born HIV positive. To date since 1987, close to 20,000 children have been born to pregnant HIV-positive mothers, of which 2,000 are also HIV-positive and over 6,000 are too young to have their status confirmed.
The UNICEF project that is funded by Change for Good aims to challenge negative perceptions and stereotypes of HIV and AIDS and highlight the importance of providing a loving home for children affected by HIV. UNICEF is working closely with the Ukrainian Government to reduce the number of HIV-positive mothers who abandon their children at a young age, as well as aiming to improve support for those children affected by HIV already living in institutions, through encouraging and training parents to become foster families.
British Airways Ukraine Country Manager, Svetlana Ignolikova, accompanying the visit, said, “I am delighted that British Airways is able to support this project and the money is providing much needed assistance to children with HIV and their families. On behalf of everyone at British Airways I would like to thank all our customers who have donated their spare currency to the Change for Good programme. ”
Set up in 1994 to collect spare foreign currency from customers travelling on British Airways flights, Change for Good in the UK has raised more than £27 million for UNICEF’s work to support some of the world’s most vulnerable children in 58 countries. In total the programme has donated nearly £500,000 (6.8 million Ukrainian Hryvnias) to projects in Ukraine.
UNICEF’s representative in Ukraine, Yukie Mokuo added, “Change for Good is a critical donation as it was one of the very first to support children with HIV in Ukraine. As growing number of HIV-positive pregnant women is a newly emerging issue in country, we hope this contribution will trigger more support to help Ukrainian children affected by HIV.”
UNICEF Ukraine: Veronika Vashchenko, Communication Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +38.044.2542450
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