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UNICEF seeks US$200,000 for education

Sep 29, 2010, 12:14 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

Plans are at an advanced stage for this year's Road to Awareness fundraising drive by Sheraton Gambia Hotel and Spa for UNICEF UK, which seeks to raise US$200, 000 to support the education of orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa.

The fundraising event, which is part of the School for Africa programme established in 2004 by UNICEF in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society, seeks to promote quality education for all children at the basic level. These include those living in extreme poverty and in remote villages, as well as those who have been orphaned by AIDS.

Briefing journalists at a press conference held at the hotel on Monday, Rick Berendsen, General Manager at Sheraton Hotel Gambia, said through fundraising and private donations, UNICEF and partners hope to be able to support 8 million more children in 11 countries in Africa.

"It is estimated that 3.5 million orphans live in South Africa, of which one third have lost one or both parents to AIDS," Berendsen said.

According to him, funds raised will be used to conduct activities to benefit the children such as the construction of schools and restoration of classrooms, provision of classroom supplies such as furniture and learning materials, and training of teachers.

"These are very good reasons why we must all chip in and invest in children. Today, we may all be raising funds for children in South Africa, but tomorrow, other countries could be raising funds for Gambian children," he added.

He cited his hotel as a shining example of how the private sector and individuals can be involved and contribute towards the survival and protection of children in the Gambia, as well as in other countries.

Ms Sally Sadie Singhateh, Communication Officer for UNICEF national office, underscored the importance of the hotel’s partnership with her office for the past 15 years, which has raised over US$22 million for UNICEF projects around the world.

"Thanks to this initiative, over 1 million children worldwide have been immunized against preventable diseases. Last year, D170, 000 funds were raised for a UNICEF project to support street children in Egypt," she said, adding that, this year, UNICEF intends to raise US$200, 000 to provide educational support for 1500 orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa.

According to Ms Singhateh, it has been estimated that, in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, every third child does not get the chance to go to school due to social, financial and cultural reasons, including ignorance, poverty and discrimination.

Ms. Abby Sarr Director of Public Relations Sheraton Gambia Hotel attended the press briefing.

Meanwhile, the Charity Run will take place this Saturday 2nd October at 9.00am from the Traffic Lights at

Kairaba Avenue
to Sheraton Gambia Hotel at Brufut.