AirAsia Foundation today announced its second fund-raising drive this year to join global efforts in aid of Nepal after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake of Apr 25, 2015.
The campaign, which will take place from May 6 to May 22, 2015, will see donation boxes made available on board AirAsia flights and hub airports, in addition to on-going flight sponsorships for medical and relief aid workers.
Other than on board collections, the public will also be able to donate via a dedicated donations website on airasiafoundation.com/relieffund.
AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said, “In these times of need, we have to play our role by mobilising our network and resources as an airline that cares. This initiative will be kicked off first in Malaysia to be followed by Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India.”
Funds raised from the campaign will fully benefit Open Learning Exchange Nepal (OLE Nepal), a Kathmandu-based non-government organisation with an established track record working with more than 140 primary schools in 30 districts across the country to address disparities in education access and quality.
Executive Director of OLE Nepal Rabi Karmacharya said, “As communities begin the rebuilding process, special attention must be paid to the welfare of thousands of vulnerable children who have been affected in more ways than one – especially those who are distressed, displaced and traumatised. With so many schools damaged by the earthquake, their repair and reconstruction must get high priority because schools give these children the opportunity to get back into normality.”
“Our priority is to ensure that children have a safe learning space that they can return to quickly, while also ensuring that they do not miss out on school during the rebuilding period,” he added.
Karmacharya said based on early assessments, 4,500 of the country’s 36 thousand schools have been affected by the earthquake with many schools located in difficult to access regions.
Funds raised by AirAsia Foundation will be used for rebuilding schools in Gorkha district, where about 90% of the schools have been affected. Children will also get the opportunity to engage in learning in temporary shelters using OLE Nepal’s innovative laptop-based program while their schools are repaired and reconstructed.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “Nepal has one of the youngest populations in Asia. We believe it is important that rebuilding funds also go to supporting the work of strong local organisations that can make an effective impact. We hope this will play a role in helping affected communities rebuild their lives.”
Meanwhile, AirAsia continues to offer seats sponsorship for aid workers from accredited relief organisations to respond to Nepal’s call for international assistance. The free seats arrangement, which commenced after commercial flights resumed on Day 3 after the earthquake, will remain in place until May 10, 2015. Groups supported include the Malaysian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, Mercy Malaysia, Insaf Technical Relief Malaysia and Indonesia-based Humanitarian Assistance Network for Development (HAND International).
Established in 2007, OLE Nepal pioneered the integration of technology in classroom teaching-learning approach in Nepal. In partnership with Nepal’s Department of Education, OLE Nepal launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative in April 2008 with support from the Danish Government. The Programme was expanded in 2009 with additional support from the UN World Food Programme and Finnish Government.
In 2012, OLE Nepal received a grant from AirAsia X to equip the Shree Chandi Devi primary school in Kathmandu valley with laptops, equipment and teachers’ training for a year. The programme was completed successfully in 2013.
The OLPC initiative came into being in 2005 as a non-profit project backed by some of the world’s largest technology companies to help children in developing countries bridge the digital divide. OLPC laptops are now used by students in more than 27 countries globally.
The AirAsia Group is firmly committed to the philosophy that no corporation can live apart from the community it serves. As a truly Asean airline, we will always extend a helping hand to the communities we serve in their time of need.
AirAsia was at the forefront of relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013), Asian Tsunami (2004), Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2008) and Typhoon Nesat in the Philippines (2011), including fund-raising initiatives in aid of rehabilitation efforts after the Sichuan earthquake (2008) and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Fukushima, Japan (2011) and Malaysian floods (2015).
AirAsia has also supported the recovery of Bali, Indonesia, after the terrorist bombings in 2005, by giving away 12,000 free seats on its flights. It mounted rescue flights from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur in November 2008 to help people stranded by the closing of the airport in Bangkok. Similar rescue efforts were extended in Padang and Jakarta in October 2009 to help those affected by the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that hit Sumatra Island.