More than 2,500 AkzoNobel employees voted in the 2014 Best Practices Competition to choose last year’s best Community Program project in the company. A cross-BU initiative from Decorative Paints, Functional Chemicals and Powder Coatings in Langfang and Tianjin, China was selected from the 15 finalists for their community project. The first prize winning project was entitled: ‘Offering disabled children the chance to earn a living’. Our volunteers helped the Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village where 80-100 children are housed. Employees have visited and helped the center for a number of years, but this year saw an extra-special project undertaken. A major refurbishment of the Rehabilitation and Skills Center has provided a bright, clean and safe environment where the children can learn vital skills that will help them earn a living when they are adults.
Automotive & Aerospace Coatings in Jakarta, Indonesia won the Second Prize for their ‘A firm base for future learning’ project. Transforming a derelict building into a safe, clean place for young children in fewer than six days sounds like an impossible task – but A&AC volunteers were determined to do it. The Early Childhood Center, part of a local community center, sees more than 50 children aged from three to five years old taught in one classroom by five teachers. As well as demolishing and rebuilding the old structure, colleagues built a playground and recreation area, and also developed a training program for the teachers to improve the quality of the education they deliver.
The Third Prize was awarded to a cross-BU project by Industrial Coatings, Decorative Paints, Powder Coatings and Marine & Protective Coatings in Mumbai, India for their ‘Preparing abandoned children for adoption’ project. The Sparsh orphanage looks after children aged from birth to six years old, caring for them until they are adopted or moved to centers for older children. The need for proper hygiene, health and education was evident, so volunteers from various Business Units – all based at the Thane production site – decided to help. Practical repairs and improvements were carried out as well as the introduction of regular health check-ups and development and hygiene programs. Recreational activities have also been provided.
The three winners receive cash prizes of €30,000, €20,000 and €10,000, respectively, to be spent by employees involved in the winning projects on good causes in their own countries, in the spirit of the Community Program. In a special congratulations letter signed by our CEO, Ton Büchner, the employees involved in the winning projects were complimented with their contributions to their communities.
2013 winner: Volunteer horse power provides equine therapy for poor disabled people.
It’s widely accepted now that therapies involving horses and riding can be hugely beneficial to those with mental and physical disabilities. Equine center Equovita was already helping some local children but, thanks to a dedicated group of colleagues from Pulp and Performance Chemicals in Jundiaí, Brazil, who helped repair three riding arenas, it’s now able to offer support to even more. Therapy sessions are given free of charge for a year. Work was scheduled to take place over four Saturdays – but with 64 volunteers involved, it was finished in just two!
2012 winner: 'Dream helpers' make dreams of disabled children come true
With this initiative our volunteers from Marine & Protective Coatings in Seoul have helped set up a one-on-one buddy system for the 30 disabled children at the Hanwoori Community Welfare Center. They take turns to visit and plan outings for the children, aged between eight and 17, so they can enjoy activities such as swimming and fishing. As well as enjoying the trips, the youngsters felt less isolated and had the opportunity to socialize with their peers.
2011 Winner: ‘Fruitful way to offer poor farmers a sustainable future’
Company volunteers from Decorative Paints in Mumbai helped set up a ‘model’ farm by transforming a half-acre plot of arid land into a lush, green site in one of Mumbai’s poorest areas. Their initiative set in motion similar projects, which resulted in 150 acres of land being converted into productive farms. Now local residents are able to be self-sufficient and create a sustainable way of life.
2010 Winner: ‘Help with Healthy Living’
With this initiative more than 150 volunteering colleagues from Marine & Protective Coatings, Industrial Coatings and Powder Coatings have helped establish a health clinic which has become an indispensable part of life for residents of four villages in Bangalore. As well as offering consultations, basic medication and treatment free of charge, the center gives information on matters such as HIV/AIDS, personal hygiene and the hazards of smoking, while also providing advice for managing conditions such as diabetes.
2009 Winner: ‘Surrounding orphans with love’
A warm and comfortable family environment was created for the children at the Dae-ja-won Orphanage with the ‘Surrounding orphans with love’ project . Our colleagues from Polymer Chemicals in Kyungju, South Korea set to work, cleaning and gardening, to help get the site in order. A roster is now in place for the team to visit each month, where they spend time with the children as well as continuing to provide practical support.
2008 Winner:‘Clean water means healthy pupils’
Our colleagues from Decorative Paints in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam helped to install water pipes and educate children and residents how to use the new system, as well as raise awareness about the importance of clean water in 22 primary schools in 6 provinces in Central Vietnam.
2007 Winner: Little Sunshine House
Visits to help children study, play and generally feel loved and happy, make a real difference at The Little unshine House. The youngsters there are seriously ill with kidney disease, and need love and care as well as financial support.
2006 Winner: Key to Life
Children in the Itupeva area of São Roque da Chave in Brazil are learning the Key to Life and face a brighter future with better prospects, thanks to the innovative project which won first prize in Akzo Nobel’s Best Practice Competition.