Of the total donation, HK$13.9 million has been used to support UNICEF’s ongoing efforts in improving the lives of vulnerable children worldwide, while HK$6 million has been used to provide life-saving supplies, services and other relief work in Nepal following the devastating earthquakes that struck the country in April last year.
Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu said, “We are delighted to partner with UNICEF HK, running Change for Good and encouraging our passengers to donate their unused currency for a meaningful cause. Since its launch in 1991, more than HK$165 million has been raised to support UNICEF’s ongoing efforts. We wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our passengers for their generous contribution, and to our staff, especially the many who have volunteered with UNICEF HK to support the programme.”
Ms Judy Chen, Chairman of UNICEF HK, expressed her appreciation for the airline’s support: “Change for Good is a well-established direct funding programme, contributing significantly to the sustainability of UNICEF’s life-saving initiatives in over 150 developing countries. In 2015, 55% of UNICEF’s regular resource programmes have been dedicated to impoverished regions and villages in Sub-Saharan Africa, 19% towards the Middle East and North Africa, 17% towards Asia, and 9% to the rest of the world. Funds have been used to support the strategic outcomes of health, education, child protection, nutrition, social inclusion, water and sanitation and HIV/AIDS. I sincerely hope more people can join us in making a difference for children by donating through Change for Good.”
In times of major natural disasters, Cathay Pacific has responded quickly, through mobilising its staff, making donations and offering its services to transport emergency supplies, relief personnel and volunteers to the affected region. In May 2015, passengers of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair extended their generosity to the people of Nepal by donating HK$2.6 million within two weeks of the earthquakes, which is equivalent to more than two months of regular donations. Together with HK$1.7 million raised through Cathay Pacific staff donations, a figure matched by company funds, the Group was able to contribute a total of HK$6 million to aid UNICEF’s emergency relief work in the country.
Ms Chen added, “UNICEF responded to the earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015 with a humanitarian action plan by calling for US$120 million, of which 80% has been directed towards education, water and sanitation, health, child protection and nutrition to meet the needs. For instance, emergency care centres were established to support life-saving health services and prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases. To treat children with malnutrition, ready-to-use therapeutic food and supplementary feeding were provided. UNICEF also provided emergency and sustained water supply intervention through the distribution of water treatment products and hygiene kits to the local communities. As such, the additional HK$6 million raised by Cathay Pacific has given heart-warming relief towards the life-saving and recovery work for children and their families in Nepal.”
A team of 11 staff volunteers from Cathay Pacific took part in a UNICEF-led field visit this July to Birgunj and Kathmandu in Nepal. The team saw at first-hand how passenger donations were effectively transformed into disaster recovery needs. With many homes and schools having been destroyed by the earthquakes, UNICEF immediately set up Temporary Learning Centres to provide children with safe environments in which to learn.
Cabin Crew member Tara Tjhang, who was part of the Cathay Pacific volunteer team, said: “It was a humbling, yet very encouraging experience to meet and interact with those children whose lives have been touched through UNICEF’s projects. It is meaningful to know that the simple task of distributing the Change for Good envelope during our flights makes a difference in many people’s lives.”
An average of one month’s proceeds from Change for Good raised in 2015 has also been donated to the Cathay Pacific Wheelchair Bank, a charity set up in 1996 to improve the mobility of Hong Kong children suffering from severe neuromuscular diseases.