The road to a better tomorrow...

SINCE its launch in 2008, once again over 40 Starwood hotels across the Middle East will join forces to support Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ fifth annual fundraising campaign ‘Road to Awareness’ through various local fundraising initiatives and events. This year’s ‘Road to Awareness’ campaign aims to raise money for Unicef’s Early Childhood Care and Education programme in Ethiopia. The aim of the project is to provide the most disadvantaged children in rural communities with pre-primary education so they are better prepared to start going to school.

In Ethiopia, over 80 per cent of the population live in rural communities and many children have to survive on less than $1 a day. A lack of education and no access to pre-school is seen as one of the key barriers to a child not being able to reach their full potential and escape a life of poverty.

The money raised through Starwood’s ‘Road to Awareness’ campaign – which includes local fundraising initiatives across hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East as well as an annual fundraising bike ride - will help tackle this by giving thousands of the most vulnerable children in Ethiopia access to pre-school and the chance of a brighter future. Starwood’s support will contribute to the construction of 10 pre-schools, provide pre-school education to up to 50,000 children aged six and enable Unicef to train 10,000 young instructors to aide their learning. 

In 2011, Starwood raised over $600,000 through the campaign which helped to support Unicef projects in Romania and Pakistan, directly benefiting some 150 schools in these two countries. The hotels in the Middle East raised over $180,000, beating the region’s original target of $166,600. This year, 41 hotels and its associates aim to surpass last year’s achievement through initiatives as diverse as charity golf tournaments, cupcake bake sales, jazz galas, silent auctions, talent shows and more.

With the aim of raising additional funds  for those children most in need, this year a group of cyclists consisting of senior leaders and other hotel representatives from across Starwood’s Europe, Africa and Middle East region will embark on the fifth ‘Road to Awareness’ bike ride challenge. Starwood has decided to take their brave riders a bit further and higher than ever before, travelling for four days over the hills of the Tour de France. The riders will start in Chamonix, finishing after a gruelling 570 kms in Monte Carlo where they will have climbed 170 kms and a gradient of 9,000 m over the four day bike ride.

In addition to the ‘Road to Awareness’ associate fundraising campaign,  Starwood continues its on-going guest fundraising efforts for Unicef through the ‘Check Out for Children’ programme, which launched in 1995. It is a partnership between Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Unicef whereby guests at participating Starwood hotels around the world agree to the addition of $1 to their bills when they check out. Last year, the ‘Check Out for Children’ programme celebrated a remarkable milestone with $25 million raised through guest donations for children since the launch of the programme.

To donate to this worthy cause, visit