May 15, 2015  Shanghai / China

Social engagement in China

Helping the less fortunate

The desire to help the less fortunate is behind the Grateful Green MIT project (Make an Impact Tomorrow) in China. The MIT initiative supports the social volunteering activities of employees and retirees of Henkel. Henkel donated Chinese New Year gift bags to the Grateful Green project this year, and a group of Henkel volunteers distributed the donations to an orphanage. Joyce Guo, HR Director in Greater China, tells about her experience with the project.

Joyce Guo, HR Director Greater China, accompanies one of the Grateful Green beneficiaries

Joyce Guo, HR Director Greater China, accompanies one of the Grateful Green beneficiaries during a trip to the zoo.

How did you get involved with this project, and what inspired you?

Joyce Guo: We started the Grateful Green Project three years ago. What really inspired me was calling upon the entire company to participate and contribute. In the first year, our employees donated 100 bags filled with clothing, books, food and other items that beneficiaries would need. The results were very good. 80 percent of the bags were handed out on the first day. In the second year we were able to fill 150 bags. The project was so well-received among employees that we decided to expand to 300 bags, or “Boxes of Love,” in 2014.

Tell us about your visit to the orphanage. What was it like to interact with the children there?

We visited the children, who are blind and suffer from visual impairment, at an orphanage called the Shining Star Foster Home in Shanghai’s Qingpu District. Together with the volunteers, we spent some time with the children. It was nice to see how several volunteers from our company visited the orphanage on weekends, dedicating their free time to the children. We took them to the zoo, so that they could have the opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy themselves. MIT projects are not just a commitment in terms of monetary donations; we must also understand that beneficiaries need our love and care. I was very touched by spending time with the children, since I am a mother myself. They might not be able to see the world, yet, they are so positive. This is what struck me the most, and this is why I think this program is really worthwhile. It is our duty to help them create a better tomorrow for themselves.

How do you think MIT has helped?

I don’t think that monetary donations are the most important thing, but rather giving love and care to those who are in need of it. The children in the orphanage were very happy to receive gifts and, more importantly, enjoyed the time they spent with us.

Why should companies be involved in corporate social responsibility?

I believe that we have an obligation to society. The more successful a company is, the more it should give back. This is one of the core values that Henkel places great emphasis on. From an HR perspective, it helps people to grow both personally and psychologically, because it helps them to realize how fortunate they are and that they shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Henkel’s MIT initiative supports social volunteering activities of the company’s employees and retirees. Especially MIT projects in the fields of social needs, education and science, fitness and health, arts and culture, and the environment are promoted. Employees and retirees can apply for donations in kind or product donations for their specific project or for special paid leave for particularly time-consuming voluntary engagements. Since the launch in 1998, the Make an Impact on Tomorrow (MIT) initiative has supported the volunteer work of Henkel employees and retirees in over 11,500 projects in more than 50 countries around the world.

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