|By Silvia Radan, Khaleej Times, Dubai,
United Arab EmiratesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 10, 2010--ABU DHABI -- Staff and management of the Sheraton hotel in Abu Dhabi has taken a pledge to support a child throughout his life.
For safety reasons, the child's name and personal data cannot be unveiled, but he is an orphaned African boy, now living in a SOS Children's Village (an international child welfare organisation) in South Africa. The hotel's life sponsorship will now enable the boy to receive proper education and to live comfortably in the SOS village.
"In fact, there are two of them as the boy has a twin sister and we were wondering which one to choose for sponsorship. We decided to support the boy because when he grows up, he will be the one taking care of his sister, so by helping him, we help her as well," said Martina Venus, director of public relations at Sheraton.
It all started rather unconventionally, by actually breaking a rule.
In December 2009, the management team of Sheraton decided to have email-free days in order to improve internal communication. Each person breaking this rule would make a voluntary charitable donation of Dh10 to a common fund.
"Every Thursday morning, we have a lot of fun when comparing who generously donated the most by sending emails on Wednesday. It started off as a fun activity, but when we realised we make a lot of money with the email-free day, we decided that we could do something helpful with it.
"I am very proud of what we've achieved so far and I hope that many of my colleagues continue violating the rule as often as possible," said Liliane Boo, executive administrative assistant at Sheraton.
Within one year, the hotel succeeded to collect enough funds to support the SOS Children's Village, Nespruit in South Africa, and also to buy wheelchairs for disabled children in Iraq.
This last deed was actually a donation to Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids, a charitable initiative started privately by representatives of the US army in Iraq in 2005 to help disabled children.
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Copyright (c) 2010, Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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