May 11, 2016

A team of volunteers from Etihad Airways brought joy and happiness to underprivileged children at the Choice To Change Elementary School (C2C) in Dhaka by joining the youngsters for their annual fun day.

With Bangladesh cricket star Mushfiqur Rahim also dropping by, more than 130 boys and girls at the school – set up by a former member of Etihad Airways’ cabin crew – enjoyed a great day out with the visitors.

As part of Etihad Airways’ corporate social responsibility efforts, the airline’s iVolunteer programme engages volunteers from across the airline to participate in various activities and support charitable causes around the world.

The visit by eight volunteers from Etihad Airways’ head office in Abu Dhabi, led by Environment Officer Luzelle Berger, coincided with the airline’s 10th anniversary year of operations in Bangladesh.

Aside from joining in the fun day of activities and a picnic at the National Zoo, the volunteers took much-needed items, including blankets, school supplies and toys, to support the children and their families. They also visited homes seeing first hand their living conditions in the city’s slums.

As a thank you gesture, the children, as young as four, staged a talent and cultural show for the visitors.

The Choice To Change Foundation was launched in July 2010 by former cabin crew member Eva Kernova, a Slovakiannational living in the United Arab Emirates, and Sunil Baroi, Executive Director, who Eva met during her travels to Bangladesh. Thenon-profit organisation supports poverty-stricken children in the slums of Dhaka by providing free education, food and basic health care.

Importantly, C2C is one of the first schools in the Dhaka slums to teach the local curriculum in English. Coupled with low student-to-teacher ratios and over 1,000 visitors and volunteers since its formation – a large part being Etihad Airways employees – the C2C School is giving children a real chance to break the cycle of poverty and improve their lives.

Etihad Airways has supported Choice To Change since 2013 by providing flight tickets to Foundation staff and to volunteers. The organisation is also one of the beneficiaries under the airline’s Etihad Guest Miles Reward Programme where members are able to donate miles that are converted to cash for the charity.

Hanif Zakaria, Etihad Airways General Manager Bangladesh, said: “The Choice To Change Foundation has made a huge difference to the lives of so many young children and their families in Dhaka. At Etihad Airways, we have been delighted to work with the charity over the years in helping make a difference, no matter how small, and touching the lives of so many.”

 Luzelle Berger added: “The visit was inspirational and touched the hearts of the volunteers. Having given up our time to visit and interact with the youngsters, we left Bangladesh with great memories – providing these wonderful children with great joy, great laughter and plenty of smiles.”

Eva Kernova, co-founder and Director of The Choice To Change Foundation, said: “Providing the children with better education and making them more confident about their future, is something that we couldn’t have accomplished without Etihad Airways’ contributions. We are very grateful for this partnership and delighted to have welcomed the many volunteers from Etihad Airways’ home in Abu Dhabi to support such a worthy cause.

“The children were excited and thrilled when Bangladesh national cricketing hero Mushfiqur Rahim arrived and joined them for the picnic. A special thanks to him for inspiring the children and to Leah Lane, a teacher living in Abu Dhabi, who kindly sponsored this picnic for the second time.”

Glimpses of the Event

 Pic 1.

Pic 1: Choice To Change schoolchildren enjoy a picnic in Dhaka with Etihad Airways volunteers

Pic 2.

Pic 2: Choice To Change schoolchildren enjoy a picnic in Dhaka with Etihad Airways volunteers

 Pic 3.

Pic 3:Etihad Airways volunteers pictured at the fun day with youngsters from the Choice To Change Elementary School

 Pic 4.

Pic 4:Hanif Zakaria, Etihad Airways General Manager Bangladesh, second left, presents schoolchildren with blankets

Pic 5.

Pic 5:Bangladesh national cricket star Mushfiqur Rahim, holding a bat, pictured with Etihad Airways volunteers and children from the Choice To Change Elementary School at their annual picnic in Dhaka

About Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2015 carried 17.6million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, 116 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of 122Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s.

Etihad Airways holds equity investments in airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional. Etihad Airways, along with airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and NIKI, also participate in Etihad Airways Partners, a brand that brings together partner airlines to offer customers more choice through improved networks and schedules and enhanced frequent flyer benefits.  For more information, please visit:

About The Choice To Change (C2C):

The Choice To Change (C2C) was founded in July 2010 by Eva Kernova, a citizen of Slovakia resident in the UAE, and Sunil Baroi, a citizen of Bangladesh resident in Dhaka. In July 2013, they were joined by Mohammed Loch, President & CEO of DMS Global. They chose to change the lives of poverty-stricken children in the slums of Dhaka by paving an educational pathway for them to follow.

Attaining any type of formal education would have been impossible for these underprivileged children without the help of such a non-profit organisation. Choice To Change (C2C) aims to break the endless cycle of poverty in the slums of Dhaka by providing primary education and basic health care to the underprivileged children our foundation works with. C2C is completely dependent on the generosity of donors and contributors.For more information, please visit:


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