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Morneau Shepell supports High School for girls at Kenya refugee camp
Corporate / Canada

Morneau Shepell supports High School for girls at Kenya refugee camp

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Morneau Shepell donates $719,000 for a High School for girls at refugee camp in Kenya

Partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees makes the contribution possible

TORONTO, April 3, 2012 /CNW/ - Today Morneau Shepell announced that it is donating $719,000 to a High School for girls at the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya.  Construction of the school will begin this spring and the school will open early next year, initially serving 170 students before reaching a capacity of 250 students in 2014.

"It gives me great pleasure to present this cheque to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which will cover 50 per cent of the construction costs of a High School for girls," said Bill Morneau, Executive Chairman of Morneau Shepell. "I am also happy to announce the ground-breaking for this institution which will serve some of the most disadvantaged people on earth."

Today's cheque was for more than a quarter of a million dollars - $256,220.88. Morneau Shepell is also funding operating costs for the first two years of the school, for a total contribution of $719,053.76.

In 2010 Morneau Shepell embarked on a three-year journey with UNHCR to support people living in the Kakuma Camp in northern Kenya. The company set an ambitious fundraising target of $1 million over that time frame and has developed a strategy to meet its goal, while engaging and educating employees about making a difference to those less fortunate. By the end of 2011, employees had already raised $325,000 for the cause.

In a unique partnership with UNHCR, Morneau Shepell has conducted a company-wide fundraising campaign involving employee payroll donations and special events. Today the Kakuma camp is home to over 80,000 people. Many have lived there for years while others came recently due to violence and drought in Somalia.

The partnership between Morneau Shepell and UNHCR began with the initial project of building a Community Technology Access Centre in the camp. In November, 2010, four employees accompanied Morneau to Kakuma where they met with refugees and UNHCR representatives. They learned from people at the camp about safety issues and the lack of opportunity for education, especially where girls were concerned.

"On that trip we visited The Angelina Jolie Primary School for Girls, which focused on education and protection for those most in need," Morneau says. "We found there was an obvious need for a High School for girls, and particularly for those who had to be protected following their graduation from primary school. That was when we got the idea to raise funds for this facility."

The four Morneau Shepell employees on the trip shared the experience with their colleagues through an internal blog and a company-wide webinar. As it turned out, the company exceeded its fundraising goal by $40,000, which allowed for renovation of existing buildings in the camp, including five classrooms and three offices.

The formal opening of the CTA building took place on January 25th, and employees attended through a live link on Skype. Many refugees who live in the camp have since become employed in the CTA Centre as managers, technicians and teachers. The CTA Centre uses solar power to provide computer solutions and Internet access in order to foster learning for schoolchildren, youth and adults.

"UNHCR is grateful to Morneau Shepell for its contribution and dedication in building the CTA Centre, which ensures that young women and girls in the Kakuma camp have access to post-primary education and training," said Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada. "The partnership with Morneau Shepell is welcomed and much appreciated by UNHCR."

The $719,000 donation for the High School for girls covers the cost of erecting a sustainable school with a solar electrical system, operating costs for two years, and teachers who include refugee teaching staff and national teachers from Kenya. After two years, the operational costs will be assumed by UNHCR.

Morneau Shepell Ltd.

Morneau Shepell is the largest Canadian-based firm offering consulting and outsourcing services for workforce programs. The company works with clients to develop innovative solutions that integrate with their business strategies to achieve results. Through Benefits and Health Solutions Consulting, Pension Consulting, Health Management, Administration Solutions, Shepell•fgi Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Organizational Health Solutions and Training, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive positions by supporting their employees' financial security, health and well-being. 

Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves over 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 2,500 employees in offices across North America, we provide services to organizations across Canada, in the United States and around the globe.

Morneau Shepell Inc. is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). For more information, visit www.morneaushepell.com.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. Within its overall efforts to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees, UNHCR advocates for education as a basic right. UNHCR was established by the UN General Assembly in 1950. The Agency has won two Nobel Peace Prizes for its work on behalf of more than 50 million people over the past six decades. For more information, visit www.unhcr.ca.

Image with caption: "Bill Morneau (right), Executive Chairman of Morneau Shepell, presents a cheque to Furio De Angelis (left) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which is going towards a High School for girls at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The presentation was made at Morneau Shepell headquarters in Toronto today and ground will be broken for the school this spring. Morneau Shepell is partnering with UNHCR for projects at the camp and is raising $1 million from its employees for the cause. (CNW Group/Morneau Shepell Ltd.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120403_C2753_PHOTO_EN_11912.jpg

For further information:

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jerry Amernic
416 284-0838
jamernic@morneaushepell.com

Gisèle Nyembwe
UNHCR Canada
613-986-4300
nyembwe@unhcr.org