Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific Airways and the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) announced that more than HK$13.1 million was donated by passengers to Change for Good inflight fundraising programme, in 2013.
Every year, Change for Good donations is channelled into different projects to improve the lives of underprivileged children in more than 150 developing countries worldwide. An approximate of HK$2.34 million of the 2014/15 donations will go to health projects in Cambodia to address the malnutrition issues among children and women in deprived urban areas of the country.
“Cathay Pacific and UNICEF HK have been running the Change for Good in-flight fundraising programme since 1991 with remarkable success – to date more than HK$144 million has been raised. We are grateful to our passengers for their continued generosity, and our thanks go to the staff for their effort in raising the funds,” Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu said.
UNICEF HK Vice-Chairman Dr Maggie Koong acknowledged the 23-year partnership with the city’s flagship carrier. “Cathay Pacific is one of the most generous partners of UNICEF HK. With the unfailing support from Cathay Pacific and its passengers, UNICEF is able to carry out relief and development projects to help the needy children and women in developing countries.” Maggie added: “Almost half of the children under five in Cambodia are malnourished. They are too weak to stay healthy, not to mention combating life-threatening diseases. The spare change from Change for Good can definitely spare suffering of children in Cambodia, and also change their lives.”
According to UNICEF, one out of 10 children under the age of five is suffering from severe acute malnutrition across the country and is in urgent need of specialised treatment with therapeutic food. The situation is getting even worse in recent years. The Phnom Penh Urban Poor Assessment of 2012 has already identified malnutrition as the third biggest social issue in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. In April 2014, a team of 24 Cathay Pacific staff volunteers took part in a UNICEF HK field trip to Phnom Penh and Prey Veng Province of Cambodia. They learned about the impact of malnourishment on children in Cambodia and how support from UNICEF is boosting the capacity of health centres and local hospitals to offer effective treatment.
On top of the HK$13.1 million donation in 2013 for UNICEF’s work in the developing countries worldwide, passengers of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair donated an addition of HK$1.15 million to support emergency relief work in earthquake stricken Ya’an, Sichuan and HK$1.4 million to help those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Each year, an average of one month’s proceeds from Change for Good is also 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.