This summer, Aspen Europe CIS again demonstrated its commitment to Mandela International Day (Mandela Day) by supporting local communities throughout the region – taking up the challenge issued by Former South African President Nelson Mandela to “take action, inspire change and make every day a Mandela Day”.
Aspen Group has participated in this initiative for the past five years. This year, business units from 36 countries initiated 90 projects across 6 continents for more than 50,000 beneficiaries. This includes the Europe CIS region, where a number of different activities took place.
These activities put into practice Aspen’s vision of responsible corporate citizenship and are a great example of making a difference by participating in our local communities.
Below is a flavour of just some of the Mandela Day activities taking place across Europe CIS countries:
Aspen Europe CIS and Germany
The European and German teams in Aspen Germany marked Mandela Day by spending time at the Munich Farm for Children and Teenagers. Receiving around 100 visitors a day, the farm is well-stocked with animals to benefit disadvantaged children and teenagers of all ages and provides various activities to help them to develop social and practical skills, as well as learn about nature and animals. Aspen’s employees provided support to the farm by carrying out routine maintenance and improvements, which included replacing the 100m weathered wooden fence used to keep the animals safely enclosed.
The Aspen team in Belgium chose to renovate and clean the Brussels-based Maison d’Enfants Reine Marie-Henriette Children’s Home for Mandela Day. The regional Youth Court has placed some 120 babies and children aged up to 14 years at the home on a permanent basis primarily due to problems experienced within the family environment. Many older children are also placed at the home on a day-care basis and both the children and parents are supervised by social workers in a bid to help them to hopefully recreate a loving, caring environment.
The Aspen Belgium team wished to make a difference for the children and staff at the Home. The team redecorated some of the rooms with fresh, bright paint and furthered enhanced playing areas. The men converted an old kitchen into an additional playroom and the attic was also cleared to provide further productive space for childhood development. However, perhaps the greatest gift given to the children by the Aspen team was the care. Hugs of appreciation and affection were lovingly shared and it was this sentiment that has encouraged the employees from Aspen Belgium to participate in the campaign again in 2016.
The team of 11 employees from Aspen Greece spent Mandela Day treating the 145 elderly residents at Athenian Old Age Home in Ambelokipi, Athens to a special day. The Aspen team spoilt the residents by taking them for an outdoor walk in their wheelchairs, chatting, dancing and singing with them and heartily serving them welcomed drinks and snacks. As well as a fabulous day, these lonely, homeless folk received the best gift of all – the quality time of people who care. This home receives no government funding, so the Aspen employee’s donations of toiletries, food items and treats were also highly appreciated by these elderly folk.
Aspen’s team of 50 employees in chose five areas in which they could contribute for Mandela Day. These included the nursing home at the Sisters of St Jadwiga nursing home in Pielgrzymowice, as well as a social welfare home for mentally handicapped children in Tarnow. In addition, the team worked with the Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński Hospice in Licheń Stary, as well as the Raciąż Hospital which provides long term care for ill patients.
Activities ranged from renovating gardens and hospital wards, to painting walls and varnishing wooden furniture. The young people also benefitted from Aspen’s commitment through therapy workshops, which were hosted to demonstrate opportunities for personal and professional development. Last but not least, to ensure their inclusion, the sales team engaged in random acts of kindness with less fortunate strangers.