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H&M To Fight Aids And Help Girls’ Education

UNICEF Teams With Fashion Firm H&M To Fight Aids And Help Girls’ Education

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the global fashion company H&M today announced a joint partnership to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and help girls to obtain the same basic education as boys, with the firm donating $1.5 million for a three-year UNICEF project in Cambodia as a first step.

The Swedish company will help the agency’s “25 by 2005” campaign, which aims to help 121 million children out of school, most of whom are girls. The donation will help thousands of girls obtain the same access to basic education as boys, UNICEF said.

Under the Cambodia project, thousands of adolescents in the country will receive HIV/AIDS awareness training, a toll-free hotline for HIV/AIDS counselling and information will be established, 75 youth club associations will be started and 2,500 teachers will receive HIV/AIDS prevention training.

“Thanks to H&M’s generous donation, thousands of children’s lives will be changed and improved,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. “H&M is showing how corporate sponsors can use their resources to work for the good of children.”

H&M CEO Rolf Eriksen said the new partnership demonstrated the company’s sense of social responsibility. “The presence of H&M on four continents makes us sensitive to cultural differences,” he said. “For us it means respect for human rights and the responsibility for the effects of our business on the local environment.”

H&M is a member of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Global Compact initiative, which aims to promote corporate responsibility in the areas of the environment, human rights and labour standards. The company’s Ingrid Schullström said its work with UNICEF “is also in line with our participation in the UN Global Compact.”

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