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Clinique, Petra Nemcova in Charitable Tie-up

The two will help build schools for needy children in hard pressed or devastated communities.

Petra Nemcova with new friends in Mexico.

Clinique has teamed up with supermodel turned education advocate Petra Nemcova to help build schools for needy children in hard pressed or devastated communities.

This story first appeared in the November 16, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Nemcova founded her Happy Hearts Fund, which she chairs, in 2006 after being injured in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, a disaster which killed her fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee.

During an interview, the Czech model said she decided to focus on education as the best way of supporting children in disaster-stricken communities because there is a time lag of two to 10 years in the recovery cycle between when the first responders leave and the community is rebuilt. If there is no school, an entire generation of schooling can be lost.

“If you have a safe school, it helps the healing process,” Nemcova said, noting that education bolsters entire families and communities. “Every parent wants the best for their child,” she said, adding that if children can go to school, “they can start work and make a living. A school is a symbol of hope in the future.”

So far, her organization has built 70 schools in six years and by 2014, the 10-year anniversary of the tsunami, 100 schools are expected to be in operation. The foundation conducts educational activities in 14 countries but has focused the school building in six nations — Thailand, India, Haiti, Mexico, Peru and Chile. Nemcova said 41,000 children have gone though the program since 2006. Phil Caputo, executive director of the Happy Heart Fund, said the organization works with local governments, nongovernmental organizations and companies in the private sector like Microsoft.

Clinique has joined the effort, first by making a donation, then organizing a fund-raising program around the sale of a 30-ml. Clinique Happy Heart woman’s fragrance and “Make Someone Happy” T-shirts. The fragrance packaging and shirts are decorated with hearts originally drawn by children. Clinique will donate $10 to the fund for every bottle of fragrance sold. The fragrance is being sold through the brand’s North American distribution. The T-shirts, priced $16, will be sold through the Clinique Web site, and $5 will be donated for every shirt sold.

Nemcova will be making store appearances to stoke sales, first in San Francisco on Nov. 30, then in Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street in New York on Dec. 14. Clinique has designated that date as Happy Day, in which company executives go into stores throughout the distribution network to assist beauty advisers.

Lynne Greene, Global Brand President, Clinique, Origins and Ojon, said, “Education is the single-greatest opportunity one can give to a child. It is the passport to brighter possibilities, transforming individuals, families and communities along the way. With Happy Hearts, it is our mission to put a smile on the face of every child we touch. Petra’s passion and commitment to this cause have been an inspiration to everyone at Clinique, and we feel that together we can accomplish great things.”

The foundation will stage it annual fund-raising gala in New York at the Metropolitan Pavilion on Dec. 11, honoring Carlos Slim and Howard Buffett, son of Warren Buffett and president of his own foundation.