CHANGE FOR GOOD: Innovative Aer Lingus-UNICEF Partnership Soars to New Heights Thanks to Compassionate Travelers
Sometimes, all it takes to make a big difference is a small gesture. And when hundreds of people make that same small gesture, they change the world for the better.
That is precisely what has been happening since 1997 thanks to UNICEF, Aer Lingus, compassionate cabin crews, and mindful travelers who have been banding together to halt deadly wildfires of famine across Africa and the Middle East.
Twenty years. More than twenty million dollars raised. The lives of countless numbers of children saved – all due to “Change for Good,” an innovative effort by Aer Lingus that encourages transatlantic travelers to “lighten the load” by emptying their pockets of currency unused on their travels abroad. Collected by cabin crews on long haul flights, those unwanted foreign coins and notes are then pooled and donated to UNICEF.
“I was particularly keen to get more involved with this special partnership,” says Helen Condon, an 11-year cabin crew member of Ireland’s flag carrier and second largest airline. “I have recently returned from a field trip with my fellow Aer Lingus cabin crew Ambassadors to Rwanda and saw there, first-hand, the incredible impact our guests’ donations have made to communities there in helping to provide education, health care, immunisation, nutrition, water and sanitation.”
For those who doubt that pocket change donations can truly make a difference against soul-crushing poverty, consider this:
- It takes just €5.50 to purchase one insecticide treated net, which will protect a mother and child against malaria for five years while a donation of €3 provides school supplies for one child; and
- Pitching in unused currency worth US$17 can protect a child for life against diphtheria, measles, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.
A little mindfulness goes a long way.
So much so that the latest round of funding from Aer Lingus resulted in the April 2017 delivery of a million euro-plus check to UNICEF – and that check presentation couldn’t have come at a better time. Staffers of the longtime children’s champion are presently engaged in fighting new food crises in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.
“What is really special about this partnership is the incredible effort Aer Lingus cabin crews make on our behalf. I would like to express my gratitude to them, even as we ask them to redouble their efforts on behalf of the 1.4 million children at risk of famine,” says UNICEF Ireland’s Executive Director Peter Power. “The €20 million Aer Lingus has raised for children has literally changed the world.”
So, next time you fly Aer Lingus? Pitch in. You might just be helping to save the life of a future artist, inventor or healer.