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First Lady of Nigeria flags off 2009 Sheraton walk for UNICEF

ABUJA, 9 October 2009 — About a thousand people joined the Sheraton Abuja Hotel and UNICEF for their annual walk for children on Saturday, 10 October, 2009, to raise awareness of the plight of orphans and vulnerable children around the world.

The First Lady of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Hajia Turai Umaru Yar’Adua flagged off the event in the grounds of the Sheraton Abuja with the Federal Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, the General Manager of the Sheraton Abuja, Mr. Morten Ebbeson, and the Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria, Dr. Suomi Sakai.

Approximately a thousand people, including many children from local schools and orphanages, walked the 6-km circuit that starts and ends at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel. The colourful event featured prizes and treats for the walkers who came out to support UNICEF.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the group to which Sheraton belongs, and their guests have raised over US$21 million to support UNICEF’s life-saving programmes for children throughout the world since 1995. Until 2008, money raised was used to support UNICEF’s immunization work. This year, under the banner Kids Belong, Sheraton Walks around the world will raise money for UNICEF programmes that support orphans and vulnerable children.

UNICEF depends entirely on voluntary donations; corporations and individuals are major contributors to the organization’s work. “Together, Sheraton and UNICEF make it possible for hotel guests in a cosy bed in Paris or Abuja to help a child living on the street in Cairo or Jakarta,” observed Dr. Sakai. “We are linked together in a global partnership for children.”

For 60 years the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 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 more information, contact Media & External Relations, UNICEF Nigeria Country Office



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