Curitiba, Brazil, 14 April 2015 – Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen and brand ambassador Adriana Lima today inaugurated the new recreation areas and a modern library at the children’s hospital in Curitiba, Brazil. The extension was made possible by the proceeds from an auction in November 2014, when the sale of an IWC platinum watch raised CHF 40,000. Thanks to the commitment of IWC, which realized the project together with the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, hospitalized children and young people can now take a break from the everyday life of an inpatient and have an inviting space in which to meet family and friends.
“Come and play with me, I am so unhappy,” read Adriana Lima, playing the part of the little prince in the eponymous tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. “I cannot play with you,” answered 13-year-old Fabiele, imitating the voice of the fox, “I am not tamed.” An enchanted group of young patients hung on every word in the new library at the Pequeno Príncipe children’s hospital in Curitiba. As a brand ambassador of IWC Schaffhausen, the Brazilian supermodel read from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s work “The Little Prince” after cutting the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of the newly designed recreation areas.
She was assisted by Fabiele, the children’s hospital’s guest of honour at the opening. The 13-year-old was afflicted by an extremely rare syndrome before her second birthday and has since spent her life travelling back and forth between home and the hospital. But she refuses to let her physical limitations get her down. She is a voracious reader, loves poetry and is a keen football fan.
Adriana Lima appeared impressed by the facilities. “I took a tour through the hospital’s various departments and visited lots of the children,” she said. “The medical care is first-class, but these children have to put up with a lot. They just want a bit of normality, a change from hospital life, and a place where they can meet up with each other or their families and friends. I’m delighted that our library has given them a space that meets those needs.”
Selected books, computers and e-books will allow young patients to discover the joy of reading and culture, and take pleasure in constructive leisure time activities.
The president of the hospital, Ety Gonçalves Forte, is grateful for the donation: “The new library now offers more than one thousand books, while four mobile
library carts will grant access to books even to those patients who cannot leave their beds. This is fantastic!”
The Pequeno Príncipe children’s hospital in Brazil is a respected centre specializing in highly complex heart operations, organ and bone transplants and the treatment of cancer. It treats children from all over Brazil as well as neighbouring countries. Around 19,000 operations are carried out here every year. The hospital also treats around 319,000 outpatients and admits another 24,000 as inpatients annually. About 70 per cent of the hospital’s capacity is reserved for patients who are eligible for treatment under Brazil’s universal free health service.
This means low-income families are also able to benefit from the hospital’s outstanding health care services.
WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHILDREN
IWC entered into its partnership with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s descendants in 2006. Since then, the company has unveiled a series of special limited-edition Pilot’s Watches that have helped keep the memory of the extraordinary French author and pilot alive to this day. Several unique pieces in platinum have fetched top prices at auction, and IWC has used the proceeds to support many projects for the benefit of disadvantaged children. As recently as November 2014, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer donated an expensive timepiece that went under the hammer at Sotheby’s Geneva. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight” in platinum (Ref. IW388005) sold for a winning bid of CHF 40,000. The entire proceeds went to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, which used them to provide the children’s hospital in Brazil with a new library and renovated recreation areas. “It’s a privilege that by working with such reliable partners as the descendants of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry we’ve been able to achieve our goals for the good of the children. Reading is an important source of inspiration, and the new library will help children whose world has shrunk to the confines of the hospital ward to keep their minds open
and alert,” said Georges Kern, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. For him, corporate social responsibility is a pressing duty for any successful company today.
TWO PARTNERS – ONE MISSION
One of the many projects for which IWC and the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation have joined forces is their support of the humanitarian Vol de Nuit/Vuelo Nocturno institution in Argentina. Active in Buenos Aires and its suburbs, the charity liaises closely with schools, homes and organizations working with street children, helping to protect many of them from lives of crime, begging and neglect. “For our mission, we depend on the generous support of strong partners like IWC Schaffhausen,” explained Olivier d’Agay, great-nephew of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Director Saint-Exupéry – d’Agay Estate.
“Last year, thanks to IWC’s help, we were able to complete two new school buildings in Cambodia and take active measures against illiteracy.” Proceeds from another auction financed construction of the “Ecole des Sables – Antoine de Saint Exupéry”, a school in the Mali desert. Here, boarding facilities mean nomadic children have the chance to attend school eight months of the year.