Roche Children's Walk
The Roche Children's Walk (formerly the Global Roche Employee AIDS Walk) extended its scope to all vulnerable children in 2008. In 2008, 14,000 employees from 100 sites walked around five kilometers each to raise an estimated CHF 1.2 million, including the amount contributed by the company. While 35% was contributed via company affiliates to local children's charities, the balance was donated through Re&Act to Roche's long-term partners, the European Coalition of Positive People and UNICEF Switzerland, for their work in Malawi. In 2003, a pilot Roche Employee AIDS Walk was initiated across three sites in Switzerland and the USA to support children orphaned as a result of AIDS in Malawi, Africa. The event is now conducted each year, across Roche sites worldwide. To date, over 60,000 Roche employees from 100 sites worldwide have raised a total of over CHF 6 million. Funds raised via the Employee Walk supports 7 orphan day care centers in the Mulanje district of Southern Malawi where the children are given food, clothing, vocational training and the chance of a secondary school education. The centers are supported by the European Coalition of Positive People, a UK-Malawi NGO, led by and for people living with HIV and AIDS. The centers currently look after some 3,000 children. Local community leaders and villagers are being trained to manage the centers. A further partnership was announced in 2006 with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), to strengthen the local primary schools these children attend. Seventy five percent of children are unable to access secondary school education in Malawi. Money raised by the Employee Walk has paid for the construction, repair and equipment of the orphan centers and school classrooms, the drilling of bore holes for water, as well as school fees and educational equipment. All efforts are designed to make a visible, long term and sustainable difference in the lives of these orphaned children.