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UNICEF pays tribute to Malaysian company for fighting AIDS stigma

© UNICEF Malaysia/2006/Zurin
UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Ms. Gaye Phillips and Eclipse Managing Director and founder Mr. Sonny San with the "Advance Humanity Corporate Award" for 2006.

by Indra Nadchatram

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 December 2006 – Malaysian homegrown fashion company, Eclipse recently received the UNICEF Malaysia 2006 “Advance Humanity Corporate Award” in recognition of it‘s recent fashion campaign to fight HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination in the country. UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Ms. Gaye Phillips presented the Award to Eclipse Managing Director and founder Mr. Sonny San during a United Nations Malaysia ceremony to mark Human Rights Day 2006.

During her presentation speech, Ms. Phillips thanked Eclipse for having the courage to challenge the stigma associated to HIV/AIDS by lending its name to the difficult issue.

Fighting stigma with fashion

"Eclipse has used positive trends in fashion to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and fight stigma and discrimination, reaching an audience of more than 1 million people in Malaysia."

Gaye Phillips

“UNICEF Malaysia applauds Eclipse for their dedication, enthusiasm and creative efforts to spotlight the impact of HIV on children using the high visibility and reach of the fashion industry as their platform. Eclipse has used positive trends in fashion to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and fight stigma and discrimination, reaching an audience of more than 1 million people in Malaysia,” said Ms. Phillips who is also UNICEF’s Representative to Singapore and Brunei.

Malaysia has recorded almost 74,000 HIV cases since the first case was detected in 1986. New infections are doubling every three years in the country with an average of 17 people testing HIV-positive daily. Almost forty per cent of Malaysia’s HIV cases occur in young people below the age of 29. A lack of knowledge about HIV is one of the main reasons for the rapid spread of the epidemic and its related stigma and discrimination. Cultural sensitivities often prevent an open discussion on the subject. Silence, ignorance and complacency are the biggest obstacles in the fight to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In support of UNICEF’s efforts to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on children, Eclipse founder Mr. Sonny Son mobilised three of Malaysia’s iconic designers, Tom Abang Saufi, Khoon Hooi, and Gillian Hung, to put together a campaign to create awareness about UNICEF’s Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign and address the stigma associated with the disease. Titled “Designed for Eclipse, Designers unite for UNICEF”, the awareness and charity campaign was held in conjunction with Eclipse 10th year anniversary this year.

Championing causes for children

“Though the actual fund raising period is over, Eclipse believes that it is important to make continuing efforts to raise awareness and educate the public about the challenges facing children in Malaysia. With reports of violence against children, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse cases on the rise, it is extremely important to heighten awareness campaigns and Eclipse will continue to play its part to champion these causes for children” said Mr. Sonny San.

© UNICEF Malaysia/2006/Zurin
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Professor Jaap Doek presenting his Keynote Lecture during the UN Malaysia Human Rights Day 2006 ceremony.

The Chairman of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Professor Jaap E. Doek, had earlier highlighted in his keynote address titled "The Convention on the Rights of the Child - Challenges Ahead", the critical importance of including all sectors of society, including businesses in efforts to promote the rights of children.

"One of the challenges in promoting children's rights is to create a culture of respect for children's rights. We need to educate parents, teachers, people working in children's institutions and the public at large on the culture of listening to children's views. Undoubtedly, the business sector also has a role to play in promoting children's rights amongst their employees, clients and customers," said Professor Jaap. 

The UNICEF Malaysia “Advance Humanity” Corporate Award was created in 2005 to celebrate businesses in Malaysia for their social responsibility to children and young people. The annual rotational ten-year Award will be presented to businesses in recognition of their meaningful community partnerships and programs which are directly or indirectly addressing issues of priority to UNICEF Malaysia, namely HIV/AIDS, violence against children and disparity.

“The Award is our way of saying thank you to businesses that demonstrate leadership and innovation in advancing humanity for children and young people, by making positive impacts to the communities they operate in,” added Ms. Phillips.



Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS
Children are the missing face of AIDS.  Every minute of every day, one child gets infected with HIV and one child dies of AIDS. Daily, more than 6,000 young people aged 15-24 acquire the virus. The five-year Global Campaign on Children and AIDS provides a platform for urgent and sustained programs, advocacy and fundraising to limit the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and help halt the spread of the disease. The Campaign calls upon every part of global society to join together to put the care and protection of children, adolescents and young people at the centre of the HIV/AIDS agenda. Meeting the challenge will require collaboration and co-operation between people working on all aspects of the epidemic. UNICEF and UNAIDS are leading the initiative along with partners from all sectors of society, including governments, NGOs, academic institutions, faith-based groups, community groups as well as youth and sporting organisations.  The Campaign was launched globally on 25 October 2005 and in Malaysia on 25 November 2005.





Advance Humanity Corporate Award

Champions for Children


Prof Jaap E Doek

Gaye Phillips


November 2005:

UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Gaye Phillips (2004-2007) speaks about the impact of HIV and AIDS in the country.

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Unite against AIDS

The Malaysian Launch
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The AIDS Response


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