The Chi Heng Foundation and Accor China are working together to create a sustainable social program to help support women and children in China who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Accor has committed CNY200,000 to fund the first year of the project, which will establish a workshop in Henan Province to recruit and train women whose families have been affected by HIV/AIDS, to produce eco-friendly bags. These bags will then be sold at all Accor hotels located in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. Proceeds from the sale of the bags will be used to provide educational opportunities and scholarships and will be administered by the CHF in accordance with their charter. In the first year it is anticipated that the proceeds of the sale of the eco bags will fund scholarships for 30 children from Henan province.
According to Robert Murray, the senior vice president of Accor Greater China, "The beauty of this program is that it is more than just donating money, it involves multi sectors and the community working together to create a sustainable, viable social enterprise." Murray added, "Lao Tzu once said that if you give a man a fish, he eats for one day; but teach a man to fish and he shall eat for a lifetime. We are working to give this community a skill that makes them self sufficient for the future."
"Women often bear a disproportionate share of the burden of AIDS care, often struggling to make ends meet with whatever meager income they have," said Dr Bernhard Schwartlander, the UNAIDS country coordinator for China. "Few interventions reach women affected by AIDS. This program offers an opportunity for these neglected women to directly benefit from an aid program in their own communities, to improve their lives and that of children impacted by AIDS, and to live a life with dignity and hope."
Tony Li, one of China's best-known stylists, has donated his time and artistic skills to design a trendy image for the bags.
The program will take advantage of the network of Accor hotels throughout Greater China. This network employs some 19,000 people in Accor's 88 hotels in 40 cities. Accor's "Empowerment Builds the Future" initiative will engage with this extensive employee base and diversified network, helping to connect people from local communities to amplify what is often a silent discrimination.
The Accor Foundation was set up by Accor in 2008 to support and develop its worldwide employees' solidarity-based initiatives. The foundation is built around the concept of linking cultures by supporting the development of people and their integration into the community. This is achieved in three ways: supporting development of local skills and cultural assets, aiding young people in difficulty through vocational training and hiring programs and participating in humanitarian initiatives and emergency relief operations.
The Chi Heng Foundation, which means "wisdom in action", was founded in 1998 and is active in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Anhui, and Henan. By working with private donors, businesses, and partner NGOs, CHF offers help to any child with at least one parent who is living with or has died of HIV/AIDS since 2002. CHF thus provides care not only to AIDS orphans, but also AIDS-affected children. By helping with their education and integrating them into society, CHF efforts aim to give AIDS-affected children a stronger sense of community and belonging. CHF also promises a long-term commitment to helping the children not only to complete their education but also to receiving dependable and comprehensive support.