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Cathay Pacific staff brings ‘change for good’ to vulnerable children in Thailand

© UNICEF Thailand/2009/Kanoknan

By Nattha Keenapan

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 17 February 2009 – Nearly 30 Cathay Pacific airline staff members visited UNICEF-supported projects in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces in mid February to learn how the funds they have raised on Cathay Pacific flights benefit children in Thailand.

Since 1994, the Hong Kong-based carrier has helped raise funds for UNICEF by collecting unused coins and currency notes from passengers. On all Cathay Pacific flights, passengers are invited to put their leftover coins into the Change for Good envelope as they watch in-flight videos showing footage of vulnerable children around the world.

The scheme is called Change for Good.

Established in 1987, Change for Good is an innovative partnership between UNICEF and 10 major airlines. So far, the scheme has generated over $70 million to UNICEF to help vulnerable children in more than 155 countries around the world.

Cathay Pacific alone has raised more than HK$91 million to help children in several countries including Thailand.

© UNICEF Thailand/2009/Kanoknan

During the visit to poor rural and urban areas in northern Thailand, the Cathay Pacific employees learned first-hand about the difficulties facing children in the region. They learned about the problems stateless children have in accessing basic health care services and in enrolling in school, the discrimination faced by many children living with HIV and other challenges confronting poor children in the region.

But more importantly, the Cathay Pacific staff learned how UNICEF-supported programmes are helping to bring a better and brighter future for children in Thailand.

“The trip was very inspiring,” said Quince Chong, Cathay Pacific’s Director of Corporate Affairs. “It has opened up the eyes of our colleagues about the difficulties children have in northern Thailand.”

The Cathay Pacific employees would share their experiences with colleagues upon returning to Hong Kong, Chong said, and their visit would also help them better explain to passengers how the funds collected via Change for good are being spent  to improve the lives of children.

Please see a photo essay about the six-day Cathay Pacific mission to Thailand.



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