British Airways and mothers2mothers: a flying start

Every child deserves a flying start in life. But in South Africa, health challenges such as exposure to HIV, poor nutrition, and a lack of parental education can easily block a successful take off for infants and toddlers.

Ahead of National Children’s Day (2 November) British Airways has teamed up with mothers2mothers to help some of these children thrive.

mothers2mothers is a South African success story. Founded in Cape Town in 2001, today  it is an internationally-recognised NGO which works in seven African countries.

It unlocks the power of African mothers to transform the health of families. These women serve as frontline health workers called “Mentor Mothers”. Mentor Mothers work at clinics, schools, churches , and door-to-door in communities. They deliver vital health and education services. While also educating and supporting mothers to ensure their children get the best possible start in life.


Between 1 November and 13 December British Airways is encouraging not only their colleagues who work for the airline, its franchise partner, British Airways operated by Comair, but also the South African public to participate in the campaign.

By visiting donations can be made to provide learning-oriented toys to support children who are part of mothers2mothers’ early childhood development programmes across South Africa.

For example, a R100 donation could buy a set of stacking cups that develop gross motor skills and shape and colour recognition. While, a R200 contribution could help a toddler’s imagination soar with a new toy car. Furthermore, a R500 donation will provide a mini-toy kit consisting of cups, a car and an educational puzzle.

As part of its Centenary year activity British Airways is donating R100 000 to help kick start the campaign.

“In our centenary year there seemed no better gift than to give a flying start to children who otherwise may have had to do without even the most basic educational toys,” says Sue Petrie, British Airways trade commercial manager in South Africa.

Outside of this campaign British Airways has already invested £1m/ 19m rand to support mothers2mothers expand their early childhood development programmes into two new sites in Pretoria and launch their work in a new country.


Flying Start, British Airways flagship charity partnership with Comic Relief, was launched in 2010. Their focus is on helping children and young people fulfil their potential.

Frank Beadle de Palomo, mothers2mothers President and CEO, says:

“This centenary year donation will be a welcome boost to our programmes across our home country of South Africa. In particular at health facilities in Cape Town and Pretoria. Every additional donation from our friends at British Airways, its customers and the public will help to make a big difference to a child’s development.”

Over the past 18 years, mothers2mothers has created over 10 000 jobs for HIV-positive women. These women in turn have reached over 11 million women and children under two with life-changing health services.

This has helped to almost end mother-to-child transmission of HIV for the past five years. In fact, in 2018 the rate of transmission among enrolled mothers was 1.3%. Not to mention, this is far below the 5% that UNAIDS defines as “virtual elimination”.

In 2017, 97% of children enrolled in its early childhood development programme reached all their developmental milestones by the age of one.

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