Two decades ago, Henkel became one of the first companies in Germany to create a program dedicated to supporting its employees and retired workers in their voluntary engagement: the MIT initiative (“Miteinander im Team”, German for “together as a team”). To mark this anniversary, a special donation of 50,000 euros is being made to a maternity in Nepal.
Jun 19, 2018 Düsseldorf / Düsseldorf
Promoting voluntary engagement at Henkel for 20 years
Help for mothers-to-be in Nepal
The 50,000-euro donation is financing the creation of a mother and child medical center in the Nepalese village of Namjung. The center will be equipped with a delivery room, where pre- and postnatal care will be provided and mothers will be able to give birth safely. The maternal mortality rate is still very high in countries like Nepal: about 20 times higher than in Germany. The village of Namjung is a six-hour walk away from the nearest town and still suffers from the aftermaths of the 2015 earthquake. This makes it very difficult to provide good medical care to young mothers and their newborn babies.In collaboration with the German-Nepalese Society (“Deutsch-Nepalesische Gesellschaft”) and the honorary consul Ram Thapa, Henkel employee Susanne Volkmann from Düsseldorf, where the company has its headquarter, now intends to tackle this problem.
Volkmann has volunteered in Nepal for many years, regularly spending part of her annual leave there. For the last 10 years her efforts have been backed up by the MIT initiative, which has provided her with financial donations and time off from work.
An additional 40,000 euros will be donated to two further projects. The first is the “Bottle classroom Project”, which builds classrooms in Guatemala using old plastic bottles filled with inorganic waste. The second is a team of employees in Vietnam and Singapore who have decided to turn existing shelters in the mountainous Gia Lai region into classrooms.
The MIT initiative: Help is coming
In the 20 years since the initiative was launched, Henkel has supported almost 14,000 charitable projects in more than 100 countries through the Fritz Henkel Foundation – not just with material and financial donations, but also with time, as employees are granted paid leave to go and make a difference in the field. This is because employees and former workers of the company are at the heart of the initiative, which dedicated to fostering their voluntary engagement. The countless MIT projects around the world range from help in kindergardens and schools, through support for educational projects, summer holiday programs for children from socially disadvantaged families, support to the Special Olympics, and all the way to volunteering in Ugandan orphanages or even as a youth soccer coach.
Voluntary social engagement, also known as corporate citizenship, has been an integral part of Henkel’s company culture since it was founded by Fritz Henkel in 1876. Through the Fritz Henkel Foundation, the company makes a commitment over and above its business activities – an effort that relies greatly on the voluntary engagement of its employees.