Palma de Majorca, 22 May 2019

RIU Hotels and the Campaner Foundation organise the "Smileguard" campaign to fight against Noma disease

  • To mark Africa Day, the chain is selling charity wristbands in 24 of its hotels in Spain. The funds raised will go towards eradicating this disease that affects 140,000 children around the world

To mark Africa Day, which is held on 25 May, RIU Hotels & Resorts and the Campaner Foundation have launched the "Smileguard"campaign in all its hotels in Spain, where charity wristbands will be sold to guests and collaborators. The funds raised by the 24 hotels participating in this charity event will go to the Campaner Foundation, a development NGO that fights against Noma, a disease also known as "the smile thief" and which affects 140,000 children around the world.

The "Smileguard" campaign will run while stocks last and a lot of funds are expected to be raised, thanks to the unwavering support that our collaborators and guests always give to the social and environmental actions that the company carries out around the world. In addition, guests will receive information about the Campaner Foundation and this disease, whose origin is not known and which can destroy the faces of the children it affects and even cause death. Its development is fast, but so is its cure, with two or three strong doses of antibiotics, if diagnosed in time. That is why this sort of campaign by RIU Hotels is so important, because it supports the constant labour of prevention, diagnosis and treatment that the NGO carries out in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world and where it attends up to 1,000 children per month.

In recent years, this work has expanded with other projects that aim to improve the quality of life of the region’s inhabitants so that, in the future, they may manage the resources autonomously. At present, the service centre has the following facilities: shelters for excluded or orphaned children (in Diffa and Niamey), a health centre for family medical care and a primary school for children aged 6 to 12. 

In 2018, with the collaboration of RIU Hotels, the Campaner Foundation managed to accommodate 7 children in the Diffa shelter and 39 in the Niamey shelter. It carried out 26 cleft lip operations in the Diffa public hospital, 8 people pursued university studies in Niamey and 50 pupils entered the Diffa primary school. In addition, with RIU’s contribution, a daily average of 40 people were attended at the Diffa walk-in service and the workforce of 7 people was maintained, along with the 9 members of staff at the Niamey centre. Finally, 3 nurses are being recruited to support the Diffa hospital.

The Campaner Foundation was created in 1996 by Pep Campaner, who worked on reception at a RIU hotel in Mallorca at the time. Together with his wife, they learned how serious noma disease is when in 1995 they fostered a 4-year-old girl who had been transferred to Mallorca (the Foundation’s headquarters) for facial reconstruction surgery. Pep then decided to travel to Niger to better understand these children’s situation and, moved by their precarious lives, he decided to commit to improving the situation for them and their families. 

On his return, Pep Campaner told Carmen Riu, the current owner and CEO of RIU Hotels, what he had seen on his trip and the cruel reality that thousands of children in Niger are experiencing. At that moment, in the early days of the NGO, RIU Hotels got behind the charity’s work and became its main sponsor. Thirteen years later, RIU and the Campaner Foundation are still working to improve the quality of life of inhabitants of Diffa, one of the poorest areas on the planet, through health, education, development, and nutrition and hygiene improvement projects.

About RIU Hotels & Resorts

The international RIU chain was founded in Mallorca by the Riu family in 1953 as a small holiday firm and is still owned by the family's third generation. The company specialises in holiday resorts and over 70% of its establishments offer its acclaimed All Inclusive by RIU service. With the inauguration of its first city hotel in 2010, RIU is expanding its range of products with its own line of city hotels called Riu Plaza. RIU Hotels & Resorts now has 93 hotels in 19 countries which welcome over 4,5 million guests a year and provide jobs for a total of 29,985 employees. RIU is currently the world's 35th ranked chain, one of the Caribbean's most popular, the 4th largest in Spain in terms of revenue and the fourth largest in number of rooms.