KLM Aircares to Support Nelson Mandela Children`s

AMSTELVEEN, June 28, 2002- In July, August and September, the KLM charity program KLM AirCares (www.aircares.nl) will be supporting an AIDS prevention project run by the Nelson Mandela Childrenå‘s Fund in South Africa. KLM will enlist the support of passengers via a wide range of media, including inflight videos, Holland Herald inflight magazine, and the Internet. Donations can be made by credit card, and frequent fliers can donate Flying Dutchman points which the Nelson Mandela Childrenå‘s Fund can exchange for tickets.

South Africa has the highest percentage of HIV/AIDS carriers in the world. No fewer than 4.4 million South Africans are infected with this deadly virus, around 10 percent of the total population. This is an alarming prospect for all South Africans. “To turn the tide, we must teach our children how to prevent HIV infection” - that is the motto of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

A group of enthusiastic South African performers is therefore visiting primary schools across the nation to inform young children of the dangers of AIDS. They convey their message by means of a highly creative and interactive form of theatre: a puppet show. This medium has the great advantage that children can identify with the puppets and can be easily motivated to get involved in the show. In addition, the puppets are non-racial characters and the children absorb the information more readily than they would if an adult conveyed it.

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has now visited 446 schools. Everywhere they went pupils and teachers greeted the performances with great enthusiasm alike. The latter were also provided with a special teaching program to follow up on themes dealt with in the puppet show. But the project does not end there. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has plans to visit 768 other schools in South Africa, and would also like to put on a new show at schools they have already visited. However, they do not have the funds to do so. KLM AirCares has therefore chosen to support this worthy cause, helping the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to reach more children.

For further information, please contact:  Bart Koster, KLM spokesperson, +31 (0)20 - 649 4545.