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Dairy giant Fonterra establishes charity project in China
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New Zealand's leading dairy corporation Fonterra, a major shareholder of troubled Chinese dairy giant Sanlu, announced on Friday that it is establishing a new charity project in China - the "Fonterra Rural Maternity and Infant Healthcare Community Program" in cooperation with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation.

Fonterra Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ferrier talks to Soong Ching Ling Foundation secretary Li Ning at a press conference in Beijing on Friday. [China.org.cn]

Soong Ching Ling Foundation secretary Li Ning and Fonterra Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ferrier signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Beijing on Friday.

"Fonterra has a 20-year history in China and is strongly committed to China," Andrew Ferrier said, "We are part of Chinese society and want to contribute to the development of the rural areas of China via our effort."

Fonterra will donate US$5 million to the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation over a period of five years. The funds will be used to provide medical care and advice to pregnant women and mothers of infants in rural communities across China. The goal is to improve the health of women and children, thereby promoting social progress and development.

Fonterra is the world's largest dairy exporter and the fifth largest dairy company in the world, with an annual turnover of NZ$19.5 billion. The company owns 43 percent of Sanlu, the China dairy company principally implicated in the Chinese milk scandal which came to light in mid-September. Fonterra's decision to set up the charity can be interpreted as a good-will gesture and, in part, a damage-control exercise.

The program will operate under the umbrella of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation's successful "Project for the Safety of Mothers and Infants". The new project will build maternal and infant community hubs in China's rural and underdeveloped communities, providing them with the tools and resources to support prenatal and postnatal care, and also provide information and education to pregnant women and mothers, to ensure healthy pregnancies and babies. It will also fund teaching and exchange programs to give local health workers, doctors and nurses opportunities to learn latest healthcare best practices.

The China Soong Ching Ling Foundation was founded in 1982, in memory of Madame Soong Ching Ling, the late honorary president of the People's Republic of China. Founded with the support of senior Chinese state leaders including Deng Xiaoping, the foundation was created to continue Madame Song's devotion to supporting the wellbeing of children and building a stronger country.

The new project is the first charity activity launched by Fonterra in China, and is designed to provide long-term benefit to communities across the country. Fonterra said its shareholders and staff will be invited to make personal contributions to the program, in support of the company's US$5 million donation.

(China.org.cn October 13, 2008)

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