By Michelle Buencamino
Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) join forces for the Change for Good 1,000 Days program in the Philippines.
Change for Good aims to provide optimal health and nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a Filipino child—the period begins from the mother’s pregnancy until the child reaches two years old. The first 1,000 days of a child set the foundation of the child’s ability to grow, learn and earn later in life and are crucial to mental and physical growth.
“We realized that there are many children in the Philippines that need much more than just education. And this is where the 1,000 Days program comes in… Ultimately, this foundational program will contribute to a more educated and more productive Filipino,” says Cebu Pacific President and CEO Lance Gokongwei.
Beginning today, Cebu Pacific cabin crew will go around the airplane during mid-flight carrying large envelopes to encourage passengers to participate and donate their loose change or whatever amount to help fund the 1,000 Days program.
“Through the first 1,000 Days program, a child can arrive at a first grade classroom healthier, stronger and more mentally prepared to absorb the lessons for the day,” enthuses Gokongwei.
Cebu Pacific is the first airline in Southeast Asia to join the Change for Good program, which is an innovative global partnership between Unicef and airline companies around the world. Since its inception in 1987, the program is currently supported by 12 other airlines.
Unicef Philippines country representative Lotta Sylwander shares that chronic malnutrition or stunting hinders a child’s growth, which could lead to the child not being able to reach his full intellectual potential. When right nutrition is not given at the formative stage, it could be a springboard for poor health, low intellectual capacity, and less productivity in the future.
“Children with the right health and nutrition in the first 1,000 days are 10 times more likely to overcome the most life-threatening childhood diseases,” informs Sylwander.
Beneficiaries of the program are those living in areas where clinics or hospitals are far from where they live or areas where vaccinations and medical help are difficult to obtain.
“We also hope that this 1,000 Days program will break the intergenerational cycle poverty. We want to break that cycle with this program,” says Sylwander.
For more information on Change for Good, visit www.cebupacificair.com and 1000days.unicef.ph.
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