Media Release

Basel, 14 June 2013

10th anniversary of Roche Children's Walk unites Roche employees worldwide in support for vulnerable children in Malawi and the world

Today, Roche celebrated a decade of commitment to vulnerable children with the tenth annual Roche Children’s Walk. All over the world, at 123 sites of the Roche Group, employees collected donations for HIV/AIDS orphans and educational initiatives in Southern Malawi , as well as for local charities.

The walk is an important flagship among Roche’s philanthropic activities. Since the first Children’s Walk Roche employees and the company have raised funds to provide 17,000 orphans in Malawi with food, clothes and education in cooperation with the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP), as well as UNICEF Switzerland and UNICEF Malawi.

Roche’s CEO Severin Schwan said: “This year marks ten years of the Roche Children’s Walk, an ongoing commitment to a common cause by Roche employees. As sustainable behaviour is something that is engrained in the way we do business day to day, we are also committed to raising awareness for those in society who are most vulnerable.”

The first Roche Children’s Walk took place in 2003. Since then, 115,000 employee walkers from over 100 Roche sites have participated and raised over 9.6 million Swiss francs to provide lasting assistance to over 17,000 orphans in Malawi.

Every cent raised in the Roche Children’s Walk goes to the cause. Roche doubles the donations collected by employees. Since Roche also assumes all Walk and funding administrative expenses, no donations are spent on bureaucracy or fundraising costs. External audits ensure that all funds are used to benefit the children.

Further information about projects supported through the Roche Children’s Walk

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, which are run by our partner European Coalition of Positive People, the ECPP. The second one entails primary school improvements and teacher training activities supported by UNICEF Switzerland. Both projects have three common objectives: Providing assistance, security, hygiene and a meal, Supporting academic learning and education and developing skills to help children become self-sufficient.

To date, the funds raised have provided 30,000 school uniforms and close to 5 600 000 meals. More than 200 young adults have received post-secondary education, including training student teachers. In addition, 4000 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, infectious diseases, inflammation, metabolism and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2012 Roche had over 82,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 45.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

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