25-Sep-2015 Düsseldorf / Germany
Helping the refugees
Every day, thousands of refugees looking for safety and a better life are coming to Europe and especially Germany. In Düsseldorf, where Henkel has its headquarters, there are currently around 4,200 asylum seekers. The German government expects more than 800,000 refugees in the country this year.
“The business community, like politicians and society, has a responsibility,” says Kirsten Sánchez Marin, who manages donations at Henkel. “In order to take specific measures to help refugees, we are working together with national charities, like the German Red Cross, Caritas, Diakonie, and Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Workers’ Welfare). The main focus of our commitment is the donations in kind, in particular of laundry and body-care products, which are very much needed in the shelters.”
It is particularly important for Henkel to provide specific help close to its sites – not only in Germany, but also in Europe. In Germany for example, Henkel provides laundry detergents, cleaners and body-care products to the shelters of its humanitarian partners which are located in the vicinity of its 15 sites. As many non-profit organizations are only able to accept and store a limited amount of donations, the products delivery is carried out in close coordination and on specific request from Henkel’s charitable partners. In August only, more than 300 product ranges were distributed across Germany.
School supplies for refugee kids
Henkel’s social engagement also lives through the commitment of the company’s employees and retirees. This week for example, Henkel organized a campaign at all its German sites to collect school supplies. In total Henkel employees donated around 2.500 school supplies for refugee children. Additionally, the Fritz Henkel foundation, which supports employees’ social engagement, has doubled the private money and product donations. The collected material will be split between Diakonie, the German Red Cross, Arbeiterwohlfahrt and Caritas. “Supporting education and helping create equal opportunities is an important matter for the Fritz Henkel foundation,” said Sánchez Marín. “That’s why we decided to collect school material.”
Fritz Henkel Foundation supports employees’ engagement
Additionally, Fritz Henkel foundation supports projects across Europe where employees and retirees can help refugees. These projects range from building shelters and helping there to supporting long-term integration projects – e.g. reading and music lessons for children and young people. Henkel supports its employees’ social engagement through product donations and financial help but also by giving them up to eight days a year to volunteer. The Corporate Citizenship Team advises employees, who are interested in volunteering, on the non-profit organizations they can contact.