Independent On-line, 25 November 2002, Business bannerthon to promote Aids awareness

With International Aids Day just around the corner, businesses across the country have been asked to support HIV/Aids orphans.

Aids Day falls on December 1 and businesses, including Eskom, Shell, Shoprite Checkers, Sans Fibres, Swartklip Products and various educational institutions, have embarked on an awareness and fundraising project - the National Aids Week Business Bannerthon - to raise funds for children infected and affected by HIV/Aids.

Businesses will surround their premises with banners to raise awareness of the disease. The banners will later go to charities.

The project aims to raise R1-million by the end of National Aids Week, which runs until Sunday, and the funds will be distributed equally to charities across the country.

The only charity to benefit from the funds in the Western Cape will be the Beautiful Gates Care Centre in Crossroads.

Although the project is not new to
Gauteng, it will be the first time other provinces have taken part.

Janene Melville, spokesperson for the Business Bannerthon, said the project had been extended to other provinces because the HIV/Aids epidemic was a national problem.

"There has been a lot of talk among people and the government about their HIV/Aids concerns, but nothing has been said about business's involvement.

"We want businesses to sit together and realise that there is HIV/Aids. This is to show that business does care about its employees and others living with Aids.

"During Aids week the businesses will create visibility and awareness of this year's International Aids Week slogan, 'Live and Let Live', by surrounding their premises with lengths of banner roll.

"The banners will then be donated to the communities for community events or trimmed down into posters for notice boards or used at company events.

"One thousand companies buying an average of 300 metres of banner roll each will raise R1-million for charity," Melville said.

Nick Chapman, the project developer, said the project was the right event at the right time for businesses.

"South African companies need to unite and make a visible business-initiated statement, which publicly demonstrates that business is concerned and acting positively to fight the spread of HIV/Aids," he said.

Businesses interested in participating in the project can call Janene Melville on 011 917 9450 or 082 882 9836.