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All around the world: Roche Children & #039;s Walk to take place on International Day of the African Child

For many years, Roche employees at company sites around the world have been showing solidarity with children in need by supporting day-care centres in Malawi and children's charities in their own countries.

Basel, 16 June 2010

All around the world: Roche Children's Walk to take place on International Day of the African Child

Roche employees taking part in 7th sponsored walk in support of vulnerable children

For many years, Roche employees at company sites around the world have been showing solidarity with children in need by supporting day-care centres in Malawi and childrenâ??s charities in their own countries. Their commitment is well worthwhile. To date, the Roche Children's Walk has raised some 6 million Swiss francs to provide lasting assistance to disadvantaged children. Today, the event will be taking place for the seventh time, uniting about 15â??000 employees at 103 sites behind one good cause.

â??The International Day of the African Child is not just a chance to celebrate childrenâ?, says Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche, â??it is also an opportunity to raise public awareness of childrenâ??s needs. By taking part in the Childrenâ??s Walk, Roche employees are expressing their solidarity with children who have not been fortunate in life and have to rely on the assistance of others. Because we know that their efforts deliver tangible aid, Roche doubles the amount of money they raise.â?

Around 60â??000 Roche walkers from 100 sites worldwide have taken part in the sponsored walk since its inception in 2003, and it has long been a permanent fixture in their diaries. Furthermore, after every yearâ??s walk, employees who have led the fundraising results at their site are given the opportunity to travel to Malawi to see at first hand how the daycare centres Roche supports are helping children. Roche organises the Children's Walk and bears all the costs associated with it.

Roche works with the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP) to support day-care centres in Malawi that look after more than 3,000 children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Part of the money raised also supports the educational initiatives set up jointly by UNICEF Switzerland and UNICEF Malawi to improve schools and education in Malawi, a country where orphans are often prevented by their poverty from attending school or learning a profession.

Partnership between Roche and the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP)

Roche and the ECPP are working in partnership to provide direct aid to orphans in Malawi. The partnership builds, equips, manages and maintains orphan centres in rural southern Malawi, cares for orphans and provides financial assistance to children who want to enter secondary education.

Further information on the ECPP can be found at www.ecpp.co.uk

Partnership with UNICEF

Part of the money raised also continues to support schools and education in Malawi through collaboration with UNICEF. After constructing 18 classrooms plus related hygiene facilities and teachers rooms at local schools as the first phase, the focus is now shifting to the dire lack of trained teachers for schools throughout the country. UNICEF Switzerland in conjunction with UNICEF Malawi is initiating a programme for the construction of a teachers college in southern region of Malawi. A portion of the Children's Walk funds will assist the assessment, planning and creation of this new community resource. A teacher college for up to 400 students will both help address the critical need for primary school teachers as well as offer a critical career and future for young people finishing secondary school.

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