LIZ Mangan from Crecora has been an active promoter of Change for Good since Aer Lingus introduced the scheme 15 years ago.
In that time, passengers flying Aer Lingus have donated €12m in loose change or unspent notes to UNICEF. And the money, says Liz, who is a cabin crew manager based in Shannon, has transformed lives.
“It really struck a chord with me,”Liz says of the scheme for which she is an ambassador. She travelled to Zambia in 1999 and saw first-hand the conditions that people were living in. Earlier this year, she returned to Zambia and was heartened to see that progress had been made and that the projects had made a real impact on people’s lives. “I returned with so much more hope than when I returned in 1999,” she admits. In 1999, she goes on, she saw that HIV/AIDS had left a legacy of despair in the country. “Back then, it was tantamount to a death sentence for a mother or child who tested positive for the disease. Today, with support from Change for Good, so much has changed.”
Pregnant mothers now have hope for the future for themselves and for their unborn children, Liz says. The Change for Good scheme helps fund UNICEF projects all around the world, and these include nutrition, health, education and clean water and sanitation.
“For me, it’s always the small things that make you realise how fortunate we truly are, the things we take for granted but can mean life or death for children growing up in the world’s poorest countries. We drink water from a tap without hesitation. I’ve met children who have had to walk for miles each day to get water and I’ve also celebrated with families who, thanks to Change for Good, have safe water pumps in their village now.”
Liz is heartfelt in her thanks to all those who have helped make this possible, the staff in Aer Lingus but particularly the”extraordinary generosity” of passengers who have donated the money over the years. “As an ambassador for Change for Good, I am very proud of what has been achieved by the commitment of everyone involved in this special partnership.”
But she also pays special tribute to the work of actor Liam Neeson, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who has championed the scheme since the beginning. His support, Liz says, has been amazing and he is a true gentleman. Former Limerick TD and former Minister, Peter Power is now chief executive officer of UNICEF Ireland.