MSC Cruises has recently launched MSC for Africa, an umbrella initiative providing financial support to three diverse social projects in sub-Saharan Africa: the Ukuthemba Foundation, an organisation providing loving homes for abandoned children in South Africa; a UNICEF programme to combat childhood malaria on the continent; and an ecological project on Mozambique's Inhaca Island to improve the lives of the local population while safeguarding the island's unique ecosystem.
Throughout the 2012/13 South African cruise season, travellers on board MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia are being invited to make a small donation to the initiative, which is simply added to their bill at the end of each cruise. By donating as little as USD1.50, MSC Cruises' South African guests are helping to build a better future for Africa.
The three initiatives are:
MSC for Ukuthemba
Working with local authorities in South Africa, the Ukuthemba Foundation rescues babies and children who face incredibly difficult situations, such as extreme poverty, abuse, neglect and disability. It provides a loving home environment where they can be nurtured, educated and integrated into society.
MSC Cruises has a special relationship with the Ukuthemba Foundation and has been supporting the foundation for the last three years, helping take care of more than 100 children and establish two homes, with a third on the way.
To celebrate MSC Opera's first season in South Africa and the launch of the MSC for Africa initiative, MSC held an on-board charity lunch and auction in Cape Town at the beginning of the South African season, raising over USD60 000 for the Ukuthemba Foundation. During the event, Allan Foggitt of MSC Cruises also presented Kim Killeen, chairman of The Ukuthemba Foundation, with a cheque for USD15 000 behalf of MSC.
MSC for UNICEF
Every minute, a child under the age of five dies of a mosquito bite. Malaria is the third-biggest killer of children globally and over 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa, accounting for one in five childhood deaths. Yet malaria can be prevented, diagnosed and treated with available tools, and studies have shown that when a community's children sleep every night under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, overall child mortality can be reduced by up to 20%. MSC Cruises is proud to support UNICEF, the world's largest provider of insecticide treated mosquito nets.
MSC for Inhaca
In a natural paradise, balancing ecological concerns with the needs of the local population is not always easy. Some 3km to the west of Portuguese Island, a popular MSC Cruises' destination in Mozambique's Maputo Bay, lies Inhaca Island. As part of the Maputaland centre for endemism, Inhaca is an important biodiversity hot spot, as well as home to about 5200 people. It therefore faces the problem of how to create jobs and produce food for the local population while respecting conservation goals. Working with the island's administration and the Eduardo Mondlane University, MSC Cruises is supporting a series of initiatives to enhance the islanders' living standards while maintaining biodiversity conservation.
For more information, go to www.msccruises.co.za