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More Henkel Corporate Reporting 2015
Since the initiative Make an Impact on Tomorrow (MIT) was launched in 1998, we have supported the volunteer work of Henkel employees and retirees in around 12,100 projects in more than 50 countries around the world. At the same time, more and more employees and retirees are coming together to carry out social projects of a larger scale.
One example, which went into its second round in 2015, is the house-building project conducted jointly with the charity organization Habitat for Humanity. Henkel employees demonstrated great social engagement in the course of this “building trip.” Within a week, they helped to build a new house for families in need in the Romanian city of Ploiești.
In October 2015, 20 employees volunteered for the “building trip” to Romania and put up a multi-family house for people in need. Here the colleagues are preparing the wall construction for the second floor.
The situation of the thousands of refugees who are currently seeking safety and a better life also moves Henkel. The “Fritz Henkel Stiftung” foundation is supporting various projects throughout Europe in which employees are volunteering to help refugees: These range from engagement in refugee shelters to long-term and lasting support of integration projects, such as through learning partnerships or music lessons for children and youths. This volunteer work on the part of employees is supported by in-kind donations and financial funding, as well as time off from work of up to eight days per year.
With a fundraising campaign in the fall of 2015, Henkel employees in Germany made sure that children from needy families – including many refugees – have what they need for school.
The company and many of its employees are assisting in the reception and integration of refugees. Here: Four employees in Düsseldorf prepare product donations for distribution.
Nepal: A safe home for street children
Everyday life for the estimated 1,000 street children living in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu is fraught with hardship. Without the most basic necessities, the children are exposed to the harsh climate and are often the victims of violence and crime. Founded in 1995, the Shangrila Home project works with about 200 children, providing them with vocational courses and access to education. The project also ran a home for 80 children until an earthquake that devastated much of Nepal in April 2015 also rendered the building uninhabitable. Fortunately, none of the children or the staff were injured.
The first nights following the earthquake, the children and the staff slept in makeshift tents outside. The children are now living in student dormitories in Kathmandu, and the Shangrila Home project is providing them with food, medical care and education. The project’s staff and volunteers continue to offer the children support, love and attention. Efforts are now focused on building a new house so that all the children can live together again. “The children from the home see each other as family,” says Henkel Benelux employee Dani Fleurackers, who has been sponsoring a child in the home since 2008 and does volunteer work for the Shangrila Home project. Thanks to generous support through the Make an Impact on Tomorrow (MIT) initiative and other organizations, 1,500 square meters of land have been purchased near Kathmandu. Plans to build a new house are already in the works. “Our dream to build a child-friendly and earthquake-proof house is becoming a reality,” Fleurackers says. Once completed in 2016, the new house will become home to about 100 children.
Kusum (left), Bikash, who is holding Kishwor, and Ritu in front of the Shangrila Home before an earthquake in April 2015 left it uninhabitable.
Dorje (left) and Bikal from the Shangrila Home in local Nepalese costumes.
Serbia: All in the same boat
When he was only 19 years old, former Henkel employee Paul Mrgan moved to Germany, leaving his home village of Bodjani, Serbia. Now retired, he has been returning to his homeland on a regular basis since 2013 in order to encourage better understanding among the ethnic groups in the Balkan region, which are to some extent still deeply divided.
With the title “The Danube divides and connects,” and with the help of the “Fritz Henkel Stiftung” foundation, he organizes joint project days for students and teachers from three schools in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The program for 2014 included a canoe outing on the Danube, during which the students were literally all in the same boat. “Building a bridge is one thing. Using it in both directions is something else,” Mrgan says. “It’s fantastic to see the way the children interact and lose the reservations they initially have toward one another. They simply realize that they have more in common than not.”
Mrgan is already planning the next joint project day for the three schools, which is to take place in the fall of 2015 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The project stands a good chance of growing, he says, thus “contributing to a lasting improvement in the relationship among the people living in the Balkans.”
On course for intercultural understanding: Tamara Latiško, Bojana Đokić, Suncana Dominkovic, Berislav Pejičić and Paul Mrgan (from left to right) during the canoe outing on the Danube.
Spain and Portugal: Walk with your heart
Henkel Ibérica celebrated the United Nations’ World Day for Health & Safety at Work in April 2015 by organizing a solidarity walk. The goal of the event was to raise employee awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. With the tagline “Nos movemos con corazón” (We move with heart), Henkel Ibérica donated one euro for each kilometer the employees walked. Almost 700 employees from Henkel sites in Spain and Portugal joined in the walk, covering an impressive 1,505 kilometers. The 1,505 euros raised were donated to the international non-profit organization Caritas, which is dedicated to improving the living conditions of people living in developing nations.
“It was great to get out in the fresh air and take a walk with colleagues,” says Henkel employee Jordina Madroñero, who participated in the walk in Barcelona. “It was very motivating to know that each kilometer we walked meant one euro would be donated to Caritas!”
The solidarity walk participants in Barcelona were rewarded with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Júlia Martinez, Jordina Madroñero, Elena Gigante and Marina Sans (from left to right) paused to capture the moment with a selfie.
Austria: Network of volunteers
In order to provide employees with a convenient platform where they can exchange experiences and ideas regarding volunteer work, Henkel in Austria created the “Volunteering Network Austria” in May 2015.
This online platform offers like-minded helpers a way of getting in touch with one another and comparing notes about their projects. It also gives new volunteers an opportunity to gather information on getting started with their projects. Through the platform, colleagues can both give and receive feedback on various projects. The exchange of experiences also gives the colleagues a sense of satisfaction, increases their self-esteem, and helps them to develop new skills and abilities. “The network has been well received and the employees have been supporting it with so much enthusiasm,” says Beatrix Eigner, who cofounded the network. “I regularly get requests from colleagues who would like to access the network.” Currently, more than 50 Henkel employees are using the platform.
Smiles guaranteed: Henkel in Austria colleagues Benjamin Mayer, Andrea Bedoecs, Doris Reisner, Isabelle Haslinger, Andreea Ion and Edina Zsok (from left to right) sold clothes and goods at a flea market in Vienna. The proceeds were donated to the nonprofit organization Caritas in order to help refugees.
United Arab Emirates: A visit with many winners
Around 80 Henkel employees in Dubai set out in March 2015 to lend their support to Senses – a non-profit organization that provides care for children and young adults with physical and mental disabilities. Their residential and care center in Dubai is the first of its kind up to now in the United Arab Emirates. It can accommodate 90 children and young people with special needs.
After the volunteers from Henkel had become acquainted with the organization, they took off with the children and youths for the famous Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark. There the program included various team activities, which were mastered with ease – and the teams were naturally rewarded for this. All of the children and youths were given a medal for having successfully participated. The Senses organization won a free supply of Henkel products for another entire year.
The volunteers were also among the proud winners at the end of this exciting day. “Our goal was to give the children happiness and joy. And they gave twice as much pleasure back to us,” says Henkel employee Olivier Mercien-Ferol, who took part in the project.
Hibba Mohammed is one of the 90 youths who are given support in the residential and care center in Dubai.
Mexico: Smiles guaranteed
Children in Mexico have an extra reason to smile every year on April 30: It’s Children’s Day, or Día Del Niño. Started in 1925 as a way of supporting children affected by the First World War, the day is now typically celebrated with special activities for children in schools, parks and sports centers.
Henkel employees in Mexico have been participating in Children’s Day with toy drives since 2012. In 2014, volunteers donated 601 toys to seven different hospitals, children’s organizations and orphanages throughout the country. This year, they managed to exceed that number with 734 toys donated. Henkel employees teamed up to personally deliver toys to cities and villages all over the country. “It was such a joy to see the children’s faces light up,” says Karla Ballesteros, who helped deliver 70 toys to the Hospital Infantil de Toluca, a children’s hospital in Toluca.
“Next year, our goal is to collect 900 toys for Children’s Day and increase smiles in our country,” adds Isabel Ramblás, who led the project.
Sandra Michele’s smile was almost as big as her new teddy bear on Children’s Day. Her orphanage, Casa Hogar Alegre in Salamanca, Mexico, was one of seven institutions visited by Henkel volunteers.
USA. Henkel volunteers at Special Olympics
Employees from Henkel in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, were there to cheer on and assist athletes in both the winter and summer games hosted by the Special Olympics of Connecticut (SOCT) in 2015. Henkel employees helped at the hand-washing station during the winter games. During the summer games, they took over the roles of marshals, lane judges and result runners during the cycling competition. Over 3,000 athletes participated during both games, which Henkel supported as a sponsor.
During the opening ceremonies of both games, the SOCT honored Henkel’s company sponsorship and participation with a plaque. “It was rewarding for all of us involved, and a great way to extend Henkel’s reach into our community,” says Mike Shannahan, who helped during both events and accepted the plaque on the company’s behalf. The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, Special Olympics provides year-round training and competitions to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries.
Henkel employees met the Special Olympics athletes during the 2015 Winter Games in the USA – here at the Pratt & Whitney Hangar Museum in East Hartford, Connecticut.