Change for good brings schools for Asia


This year's holiday season collection for UNICEF, carried out on most international Finnair flights, will give a boost to the ambitious child-friendly schools concept, expanding education to millions of deprived Asian children.

By any reckoning – economic or cultural – ignorance is ultimately more expensive than education. Nobody knows this better than the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which works to improve living conditions for children globally, and is especially experienced at making even a little go a very long way. Just the same, it does take money to get things done, and the 70 million dollar target for UNICEF’s latest major campaign is substantial.

Substantial, but achievable. The Schools for Asia project, supported by Finnair’s Change for Good campaign for Christmas 2012, takes its lead from the highly successful Schools for Africa campaign launched in 2004. This has benefitted directly more than 12 million children across the African continent.

"The Schools for Asia campaign will be modelled on the successful Schools for Africa initiative,” says Marja-Riitta Ketola, Executive Director of UNICEF Finland. She points out that Asia and Africa account for the majority of the 67 million children in the world who do not receive an education. “The initiative will support the design, strengthening and implementation of Child-Friendly Schools, the centrepiece of UNICEF’s work towards quality education for everyone.”

Skills for life

The Child-Friendly Schools concept means giving children the best start in life through sound teaching and learning materials, clean and safe school facilities and mechanisms that protect students, Ketola explains. “It means a well-designed curriculum that includes life skills education focusing on HIV prevention, health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation.”

It also means that teachers will be trained to give children a rich and empowering education, and build environments where girls and boys are treated equally and are enabled to achieve their maximum potential. Consequently, children will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to shape a better future for themselves, their communities and the rest of the world.

Schools for Asia concentrates on providing quality education to millions of children, but with a special focus on those who are at a disadvantage. These groups include girls, members of ethnic minorities, and children in remote and poor areas.  Eleven countries are covered by the project, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

“Education is essential for development – a vast variety of issues are supported through education,” Ketola concludes. “Education provides opportunities for better livelihoods and employment, helps eradicate poverty and hunger and reduces child and maternal mortality. We need and appreciate all the support we can get for this crucial campaign, and we hope Finnair travellers will support the campaign.”

Donate Finnair Plus points

Finnair and UNICEF have cooperated in the Change for Good collection since 1994. Passengers can donate loose change of any denomination using envelopes distributed in aircraft seat pockets. Collection points are also placed at Finnair offices. More than 1.1 million euros have been raised for UNICEF campaigns around the world thanks to the generosity of Finnair customers. A new feature for 2012 will be the option for Finnair Plus members of donating Plus points which can be used to the benefit of UNICEF Finland.

Tangible benefits since 1994

UNICEF’s Change for Good has been a popular holiday season charity campaign of many oneworld airlines since the alliance’s founding in 1999, and of Finnair since 1994. Through the project, which enables passengers to donate their surplus change in foreign currencies at the end of a trip, Finnair has collected more than a million euros for UNICEF.

In the latest collection Finnair’s international passengers donated about 60,000 euros over the six-week period from November 28, 2011. At any time of the year, Finnair Plus customers can also donate their points to UNICEF Finland.

Finnair has cooperated with UNICEF through Change for Good in supporting many causes since 1994, including HIV prevention in Kaliningrad and welfare for girls in Nepal. For the last three years, from 2009 to 2011, the collection was for the benefit of children in the Indian state of Bihar.

Read more about last year's campaign.


It couldn’t be simpler. Just find the collection envelope in your seat pocket, place your contribution in it, seal the envelope and return it to a member of the Finnair cabin crew. All currencies are welcome.

TAKE PART in UNICEF’s Change for Good campaign by donating your Finnair Plus points towards a collection promoting children’s schooling in Asia. Donate your points through

Text by Tim Bird
Photo by Niklas Hallén / UNICEF

A longer version of this article was published in Finnair´s Blue Wings magazine (Dec 2012).

Published November 23, 2012

Category: Collaboration