RocheOver 20,000 employees of Roche from 113 Roche sites marked the International Day of the African Child by walking and collecting donations for children in need as part of the 9th Roche Children's Walk.

Since its inception in 2003, this global event takes place annually to raise awareness and funds for vulnerable children. Half of the money raised is designated to support care centres for HIV/AIDS orphans and educational initiatives in Southern Malawi, long-term projects in which Roche cooperates with the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP), as well as UNICEF Switzerland and UNICEF Malawi. The other half of the funds can be designated to local charities for children in affiliate communities by the participating site. Roche matches the donations raised.

Roche's CEO Severin Schwan said: "Children are among the most vulnerable members of society. With the Roche Children's Walk, our employees not only raise attention to this important cause, but the donations they and the company garner also support projects that have a direct impact on the lives of children in need. Since we launched the annual Children's Walk over 15,000 orphans in Malawi have received lasting assistance through the dedicated efforts of Roche's employees and our partner organisations."

About the Roche Children's Walk
Since the first Roche Children's Walk in 2003, 95,000 employee walkers from over 100 Roche sites have participated and raised over 8 million Swiss francs to provide lasting assistance to over 15,000 orphans in Malawi. Roche is cooperating with two experienced organizations - ECPP (European Coalition of Positive People) and UNICEF Switzerland–through which we support two clearly defined projects:

The first one are day centers for AIDS orphans in Malawi, as well as some scholarship assistance for secondary and post-secondary education, are run by our partner European Coalition of Positive People, the ECPP. The second one are funds provided to UNICEF Switzerland, who support school improvements and teacher training. Both projects have three common objectives: Providing assistance, security and a meal, Supporting academic learning and educating and Developing skills to help children become self-sufficient.

To date, the funds raised have provided 30,000 school uniforms and close to 5 000 000 million meals, support for 100 children every year to pursue secondary education and more than 100 young adults to receive post-secondary education, including training student teachers. In addition, 3500 young people have received training in practical skills such as knitting, tin-smithing and carpentry to enable communities to become more self-sufficient for a brighter future.

A representative group of employees who have led the fundraising are given the opportunity to travel to Malawi to see first-hand how the funds are used to help support and improve the lives the children.

Partnership between Roche and the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP)
Roche and the ECPP are working in partnership to provide direct aid to orphans in Malawi. The partnership builds, equips, manages and maintains orphan centres in rural southern Malawi, cares for orphans and provides financial assistance to children who want to enter secondary education.

Partnership with UNICEF
Part of the money raised also continues to support schools and education in Malawi through collaboration with UNICEF. After constructing 18 classrooms plus related hygiene facilities and teachers rooms at local schools as the first phase, the focus has shifted to the dire lack of trained teachers for schools throughout the country. UNICEF Switzerland in conjunction with UNICEF Malawi has initiated a collaboration for the construction of a teachers college in southern region of Malawi. A portion of the Children's Walk funds assists the assessment, planning and creation of this new community resource. A teacher college for up to 540 students will both help address the critical need for primary school teachers as well as offer a critical career and future for young people finishing secondary school.

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2011, Roche had over 80'000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 42.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.