Queen Rania, UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, backs campaign with special TV message

September 16, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Showtime Arabia, the leading Pay TV provider in the Middle East and North Africa, have teamed up to launch a Ramadan humanitarian campaign for the children of Iraq, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Darfur. Endorsed by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, the humanitarian campaign is focused on promoting awareness and raising funds to directly support children in areas of crisis throughout the region.  Aramex, the leading total transportation solutions provider, has also joined the multimedia campaign effort and will be responding to telephone calls, collecting cash donations in some countries and raising awareness among its customers. The MBC Group has also agreed to lend its support in the form of free air time for the campaign on all its channels.  Queen Rania’s message, delivered through Showtime Arabia, MBC and Al Arabiya TV channels, will draw attention to children suffering in crisis areas and offer viewers a chance to help. In addition, Showtime Arabia will use its sales outlets, informative text messages and emails to highlight the initiative to its customers across the region.  Queen Rania said, “The children, the least responsible for these conflicts, are paying the highest price. They are our future; they are our best hope, their suffering our worst fear. Each of us can help, and collectively we can make a difference in their lives.” Inspired by UNICEF’s mandate to improve the lives of millions of children worldwide, the campaign focuses on children in the Occupied Palestinian territory, Iraq and Darfur. The effects of conflict in these regions include increased vulnerability of children to malnutrition, limited access to safe drinking water, unstable living conditions, restricted access to schooling opportunities, lack of adequate health care and, most of all, constant exposure to violent death. Danny Bottoms, Chief Operating Officer of Showtime Arabia, commented, “We are extremely proud to support the vital work of UNICEF here in this region. In addition to leading the campaign, we will donate a percentage of our revenue to this cause. We also expect a number of our content providers to donate as well. A special collection of companies and individuals has come together to ensure we raise the most funds possible for UNICEF.” The general public and Showtime Arabia customers will also be able to make donations to UNICEF via a number of methods throughout the Ramadan period. Everyone can visit www.showtimearabia.com/unicef or www.unicef.org/arabic to donate an amount of their choice using a credit card. In selected countries, the general public can call Aramex and schedule collection of a cash donation. Using the SHOWCINEMA programs system, Showtime Arabia customers can send an SMS with the keyword “UNICEF”, to donate the cost of a movie.  Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, UNICEF Regional Chief of Communication for the Middle East and North Africa, said that “the importance of highlighting the suffering of children in crisis environments in this region cannot be stressed enough. We thank our Eminent Advocate, Queen Rania, Showtime Arabia and Aramex for supporting our endeavour to safeguard and promote children's rights and their unconditional protection from harm, abuse and exploitation.”