Unesco's Gift Coupon Plan: "a bridge between peoples", successfully launched in the U.S.
An oblong piece of red and green paper, with the serial number, A-00001, was airmailed recently from New York to Sardinia, Italy. Symbolically, it marked the opening of a new bridge designed to span the gap between the world's generosity and the world's need. This initial "bridge crossing" took place when the first national ' campaign to put the new Unesco Gift Coupon Plan into effect was launched in the United States. Unesco Gift Coupon Number One, purchased as a token by a staff member, went to Father Solina's Boys' Town, on the island of Sardinia, and one of the best known of Italy's children's communities. The unusual "currency" will enable the warorphaned young citizens to buy $10 worth of books, laboratory apparatus or other much needed school equipment.
The "generosity" approach to the new bridge has been opened to all organized groups who are prepared to share in international educational assistance. Such groups will become the medium through which many people, young and old, will be able to make their personal contributions to Unesco assistance projects.
The bridge itself is '"constructed" of two simple elements: a Gift Stamp and a Gift Coupon. Gift Stamps, printed in small denominations -such as 25 cents in the United States -are issued in booklets containing 40 red, perforated stamps. Individual Stamps are sold by organizations to members, friends and neighbours. Organizations then convert the proceeds from each booklet into a Gift Coupon of equal value.
Gift Coupons, in denominations of $10 -or the equivalent in other currencies -are a special kind of international "cheque" or money-order. They can be used instead of scarce "hard" currency to pay for urgently needed materials and equipment of an educational, scientific or cultural type by placing orders with authorized suppliers in any of a dozen countries.