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Brazilian Poor Kids Get US$ 1 Million Check from the Makers of Kleenex

A Brazilian quilombo Dallas-based health and hygiene multinational Kimberly-Clark, whose products include some well-known brands as Kleenex, Scott and Kotex, is donating close to US$ 1 million to poor children and families programs in Brazil.

The money is being given through the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (the United Nations Children's fund) to reduce the rate of infant mortality and improve access to basic sanitation, nutrition and education programs for Brazilian families and kids.

Kimberly-Clark's first installment of US$ 325,000 should benefit indigenous children in the Amazon region and Quilombolas (descendents of runaway African slaves) children in Brazil's semi-arid region. 

UNICEF and the company say they have prioritized this work for several key reasons including:

– In 95% of the Semi-arid municipalities, the infant mortality rate is higher than Brazil's national average.

– The percentage of malnourished children younger than 2 in this region is four times as high as in the South Region (8.3% vs.
2.3%).

– Almost half (42%) of the boys and girls living in the semi-arid
area have no access to piped water, a well or a water spring.

To determine the best use of the additional installments, Kimberly-Clark is sending employees on a field trip this week to areas where UNICEF humanitarian efforts are already underway. 

Following these visits, the company, together with UNICEF officials, will identify the priorities and programs that will be funded in 2008. 

Examples of projects that will be evaluated include training and education for health care providers, early childhood development programs for parents and caregivers, and improved access to health care services.

"Kimberly-Clark's commitment to the Brazil region and to our long-standing partnership is evident in their participation and dedication to understanding the needs of the children and their families in Brazil," said Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. 

"It's this type of participation and input that allows UNICEF to more deeply impact the survival of children in communities around the developing world."

Every day this week, the public is invited to log into the company's website to follow along as their employees make their field trip visits to UNICEF program sites throughout Brazil. Photo and journal entries by Kimberly employees can be accessed at http://www.kimberly-clark.com/aboutus/stories_to_celebrate.aspx.

"Whether it's improving the health, hygiene and well-being of people through our products and businesses or changing lives through our charitable works, K-C has a long-standing commitment to supporting children and strengthening families," said Carolyn Mentesana, vice president, Kimberly-Clark Foundation. 

"All of us at Kimberly-Clark are delighted to expand our work with UNICEF in addressing the most pressing needs of children and families in Brazil."

K-C's partnership with UNICEF has started in 2001 to provide assistance and care to orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. 

The company has already donated more than US$ 6 million to provide 350,000 children in 24 countries with life-saving supplies and health care, education and skills training as well as to fund programs that prevent violence and child exploitation, combat negative social stigmas and discrimination, and encourage HIV testing.

For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world's leading international children's organization, working in over 150 countries. They provide lifesaving nutrition, clean water, education, protection and emergency response saving more young lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world.

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