SENIOR regional officer of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Donna Keher, visited Shenzhen over the weekend to raise funds for disadvantaged children in China.
Madam Keher was on a mission to promote the UNICEF greeting cards program, which has a 50-year history from the time a 7-year-old girl in the former Czechoslovakia gave her drawing to UNICEF to say "thank you" for the help she received.
UNICEF cards are now sold in many countries and provide 10 percent of UNICEF's total funding, said Madam Keher, who is the senior regional officer of the Private Sector Division of UNICEF's East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.
She said that two-thirds of the US$1 billion fund UNICEF collected annually came from government contributions worldwide. The remainder came from the private sector in three ways: sales of cards, direct mail donations and corporate alliances.
"All the income from card selling in China will go to projects for Chinese children," said Madam Keher.
UNICEF has been in China for more than 25 years, working for and with children in China. In 2002 alone, it spent more than US$10 million on health and nutrition, education, child protection, and water and environmental sanitation projects in the country's poorest areas. For the next five years, UNICEF will focus on girls' rights and HIV/AIDS prevention and care.
"This year our card selling activity has covered 10 major Chinese cities," Thomas Chung, sales development officer for UNICEF in China, told the Shenzhen Daily.
"The China branches of some multinationals, such as Alcatel, Canon, Hitachi, Shell and Sony, have become buyers of the greeting cards this year. We hope more organizations and individuals will show their appreciation," said Chung. Madam Keher said she expected to sell 400,000 cards worth US$360,000 in China this year.
Chung said a pack of 10 cards costs from 70 to 85 yuan. The cards feature paintings of artists worldwide and this year one of the artists is a Chinese student in Guangdong Province.
(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2003)