Starfish Greathearts Foundation Hosts World AIDS Day Film Screening at the South African High Commission, Trafalgar Square and UK Premier of ‘Generation HOPE’ Photo Exhibit

In honour of World AIDS Day, Starfish Greathearts Foundation, an international development charity that improves the health and well-being of children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in South Africa, will be hosting a new and creative way to help educate and involve UK donors in the orphan crisis of southern Africa. The event, sponsored by Barclays, will include an exclusive film screening at South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, as well as the UK premier of the Generation HOPE photo exhibit, created by children affected by HIV/AIDS.

“While the global economy is on the top of everyone’s mind, it’s important to remember than even a small donation can make a huge difference to a child affected by AIDS in South Africa,” says Ed Cottrell, Chairman of Starfish UK. “Starfish continually develops easy and creative ways to allow people to give back and have a great time doing it.”

“Today’s event embodies Starfish’s model of giving,” reinforces Gavin Salmon, UK Executive Officer of Starfish. “Individual and institutional donors want to know where their charitable donations are going. The model we have developed at Starfish empowers people who are touched by our mission to assist these children with not only a unique and innovative way to donate, but also provides donors more choice and transparency.”

The Starfish Greathearts Foundation World AIDS Day event will feature:

• Angels in the Dust tells the inspiring story of Marion Cloete, who left her privileged life in Johannesburg to build Botshabelo, an extraordinary village and school that provides shelter, food, and education to more than 550 South African children. The film demonstrates the life-changing power of one compassionate heart for a nation overwhelmed by an epidemic of HIV/AIDS orphans.

• Generation HOPE, an exhibit of photographs taken by children who, with the use of Digital Blue cameras, took photos of people and things in their lives that represented hope. The exhibit, which will be shown at the South African High Commission, on Tuesday, December 2nd, helps connect donors and potential donors with the children who will be supported by their donations. The exhibit was showcased in Virgin Megastores in New York City in October.
Starfish hopes to serve as an example for other non-profit organisations to aspire to, by taking a very personalized, individual approach to charitable giving. Starfish also gives its donors access to grassroots, local organizations on the ground in South Africa, while giving them the confidence of knowing that their charitable pounds are being spent in a cost-effective manner.

“Barclays is pleased to be supporting Starfish once again. Says Debbie Philips of Barclays. “Barclays has long been committed to investing in the communities where we live and work around the world. To ensure we can deliver the most sustainable value, our community investment programme focuses on areas where we can use our skills and expertise, as well as our money, to help disadvantaged people work towards financial independence and security. We also strive to strengthen the local communities where we live and work, by supporting organisations like Starfish. If it matters to the people in the local community, it matters to us”.

For example, attendees’ £10 contribution to the event could provide children in South Africa necessities such as educational supplies, monthly food parcels, or caregiver visits.

Sir Richard Branson, founder and president of the Virgin Group, said, “Virgin Unite has been a five year donor to Starfish because it brings hope and opportunity to children whose lives are imperilled by the devastation of HIV/AIDS. Starfish is ensuring that even more donors invest in the future of South Africa by linking them directly to the lives of these children.”

Protecting Africa’s “Lost Generation”

In southern Africa, as elsewhere on the continent, the AIDS pandemic is not only devastating the present generation, but also jeopardising future children’s lives too, undermining African economies and societies in ways that often are not immediately apparent. Many poor households affected by HIV/AIDS may not be able to afford to send their children to school. Even in countries where schooling is free, there are other costs such as uniforms and books which Starfish aims to provide.

According to a recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, improving daily living conditions is the number one way to improve global health. This includes placing an emphasis on early childhood development and education, improving living and working conditions and creating supportive social protection – all areas in which Starfish is working.

South Africa has the world’s highest number of people living with HIV, and the most AIDS-related deaths. As a result, approximately 450 children in South Africa are orphaned every day, and maternal orphan numbers are forecasted to reach approx. 2.1 million by 2010.

Simple, basics services, like those provided by Starfish, are necessary to improve local African communities and their likelihood to contribute positively to society/economies. Starfish is investing in the next generation of South Africa’s leaders, giving them a second chance to contribute to the world in a positive and meaningful way.

To find out more about the event at South Africa House, Trafalgar Square on Tuesday 2nd December, 2008, please visit: http://www.starfishcharity.org/general-content.aspx?id_Content=451

Event details: December 2nd 2008, 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Film screening will commence at 7:30pm.

Event venue: South African High Commission, Trafalgar Square, London

Tickets are £10 with all proceeds going to Starfish’s work with orphaned and vulnerable children

History of World AIDS Day:

The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world. Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done. World AIDS Day was originally organised by UNAIDS, who chose the theme after consultation with other organisations.

In 2005 UNAIDS handed over responsibility for World AIDS Day to an independent organisation known as The World AIDS Campaign (WAC). The WAC’s slogan for their work is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”. This is an appeal to governments, policy makers and regional health authorities to ensure that they meet the many targets that have been set in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and especially the promise of universal access to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention services by 2010. This campaign will run until 2010, with a related theme chosen for World AIDS Day each year.

About Starfish

Starfish Greathearts Foundation is a vehicle for building an international, active and socially aware community of people who want to work to address the unmet needs of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. By deriving sustainable solutions for improving the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children, Starfish has developed a community-based care approach that has improved the lives of children in all provinces of South Africa. Starfish aims to reach 100,000 children by 2010.

Starfish was selected by Sir Richard Branson to make up the “Voice for Africa” at the G8 Summit and was selected by Virgin Unite as one of the seven South African CSI partners.

Starfish’s projects serve as an inspirational example of the success that can be brought about by the support from individuals. The model enables the organization to address its bold and focused mission with both personal attention and operational excellence.

About Barclays

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia.
With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 150,000 people.

Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for over 42 million customers and clients worldwide.

About Virgin Unite

Virgin Unite is the not-for-profit foundation of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. We work with great partners all over the world to develop new approaches to social and environmental issues. We’re fortunate that Richard and the Virgin Group pick up our overhead costs – so 100% of all donations go directly to the frontline where it is needed the most. We believe that the only way we are going to drive the scale of change that needs to happen in the world, is if we revolutionize the way that the business and social sectors work together. We want to use all the entrepreneurial energy across the Virgin Group to help drive this revolution. For more information please visit www.virginunite.com.

About Digital Blue- Innovation for Your Imagination

A leading developer of electronics and software for the youth market, Digital Blue creates innovative portable electronics for preschoolers, kids and teens, and award-winning educational products that are used in classrooms worldwide. Through strategic licensing partnerships, the company and its top-selling products have earned continual recognition from the media, consumer groups and other industry leaders, including The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) and National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA). For more information about Digital Blue, its licensing partners and products, please visit www.digiblue.com.

Contact:
Sarah Coles
sarah@colescommunications.com
001 917 584 5074

Gavin Salmon
gavin.salmon@starfishcharity.org
0207 597 3798

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