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Robert Bosch Stiftung is preparing for the future
New developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung
Robert Bosch Stiftung is responding to current global challenges with a new strategic direction that includes better integrating refugees, improving community, and strengthening access to education around the world. Effective immediately, the Stiftung is focusing its activities on the three following areas: “Migration, Integration, and Participation”, “Social cohesion in Germany and Europe”, and “Sustainable Living Spaces” At the same time, at its New Years reception on January 18, 2017 in Berlin, senior executives reviewed the Stiftung’s positive results for last year: in 2016, some 107.9 million euros went toward charitable causes (status of January 19, 2017).
“With the three new focal areas, we are addressing major, relevant topics,” said Ute-Micaela Dürig, the CEO of Robert Bosch Stiftung. “Thanks to the expertise we have acquired in the areas we have traditionally funded, we can also make a lasting contribution to these three new focal areas.” Last year, an expert commission put together by Robert Bosch Stiftung presented 99 recommended areas of action for Germany’s refugee policy, and also made suggestions with regard to improving integration. The main points are reflected in the country’s integration law, which recently went into effect. At the same time, the experts have supported pilot projects that show how social and cultural participation can succeed with innovative approaches.
Ute-Micaela Dürig, the CEO of Robert Bosch Stiftung
In order to promote European cohesion and thus the second focal point, the team has also created platforms that invite private citizens to take part in a constructive conversation about the continent’s future. One such platform was the “Europe 21” program highlight, which was organized on the occasion of the 2016 Leipzig book fair. At discussions, readings, and talks with authors, writers, scientists, journalists, and representatives of civil society discussed ways in which cross-border dialog could be organized.
The “Sustainable Living Spaces” focal point is closely linked to the Stiftung’s commitment to Africa. In cooperation with local partners, the Stiftung’s employees are committed to improving access to education across the continent and providing young people with a fair starting point. In 2016, the first science conference to take place in Africa marked an important milestone.
More information on Robert Bosch Stiftung’s new strategy can be found here.
All pictures by Manuel Frauendorf.
Primavera e.V. collected more donations than ever in 2016
More than 25 years ago, 10 Bosch associates founded Primavera e.V. with the aim of giving children from the world’s poorer regions opportunities for a brighter future. Since then, the initiative has grown continuously. Today, more than 1,040 volunteers are active with Primavera, many of them former Bosch associates. Their commitment pays off: in 2016, Primavera collected more donations than ever. At the end of October, the sum already stood at 620,811.65 euros, 22.1 percent above the unusually successful previous year.
The donations support projects around the world that help disadvantaged children and youth. They focus on teaching paths out of poverty and giving young people opportunities for a brighter future. To this end, the organization supports a number of schools or educational activities that provide participants with the tools they need to lead an independent life. The best example is the “Me gusta mi escuela” project in Mexico: executives from Germany and Mexico volunteered with schools in the country’s disadvantaged regions. The schools lacked materials, kitchen equipment, and furniture. Some of the buildings also required renovation. While Mexican associates helped locally, their colleagues in Germany collected the required resources.
In Germany, too, a number of refugee aid projects received support from Primavera this past year. For instance, a bicycle workshop was opened in Weissach with donations. Together with volunteers from a local aid group, refugees repaired bicycles and made them fit for the roads again. Moreover, in Achern and Sassbach, 19 refugee children were given the opportunity to learn to swim. Primavera financed their bathing suits and basic swimming lessons.
The Primavera calendar was one of the initiative’s highlights in 2016: produced for the first time in 2010, it now has a print run of 5,000 and can be seen on Bosch desks around the world. For the last six calendars, a total of 120,500 euros has been collected. Primavera volunteers have used the money to help provide children in need a brighter future.
More information on the work of Primavera e.V. can be found here.
Bosch Rexroth offers internships for young refugees
There are many reasons why people are currently fleeing their home countries, including war, persecution, and poverty. According to Germany’s office for immigration and refugees, more than 690,000 people filed for asylum in the first nine months of last year. Once they arrived in Germany, they faced myriad new challenges: not only did they have to learn a new language, they also had to come to terms with a foreign culture. Both issues have made finding work especially difficult. And yet joining the job market is critical for successful integration.
Young refugees gained an overview of different occupations during their internships at the Bosch Rexroth training workshop
In cooperation with a school for occupational training in Karstadt, Germany, Bosch Rexroth has now launched a project that aims to give young refugees an initiation to work in their new country. With an internship program in Lohr, Bosch Rexroth aims to give refugee youth an overview of different occupations, as well as an opportunity to learn about the processes of a modern industrial enterprise. The offer is open to students in the second year of occupational integration classes in Karstadt. At the end of November, 16 participants were introduced to machining, electronics, mechatronics, foundry technology, and logistics. On a rotating basis, they were able to experience each area equally. The interns received the support of trainers and apprentices in each of the occupational groups.
Egon Birkenmeier, head of industrial and technical apprenticeships at Bosch Rexroth in Rohr, is satisfied with the results of the initiative. “The interns were very motivated, enthusiastic, and grateful learners. They showed a high level of manual skills and mastered the tasks they were given. We were especially surprised about the German skills they had acquired in such a short period of time.”
At locations across Germany, Bosch is committed to helping refugees take their first steps in the local job market. To this end, the company has created 400 internship spots, which range from short practicums that introduce young people to the different occupations to qualification programs that last several months. “We know how important work is in leading an independent life, and we would like to help people who have fled their home countries gain a foothold in the job market,” says Egon Birkenmeier.
More information about Bosch initiatives that aim to support refugees can be found in our Sustainability Report 2015.
German Chancellor invites integration network to knowledge-sharing event
What does successful integration look like and how can companies create opportunities for refugees? On September 14, German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed these two questions with members of the “Wir zusammen” (“Us together”) platform in Berlin. The head of government used the meeting at the Federal Chancellery to gain insights into the activities of the participating companies – among them Bosch, Daimler, and Thyssenkrupp – with regard to the training and employment of refugees. A study that “Wir zusammen” conducted in cooperation with the Roland Berger management consultancy served as the basis for discussion. The study highlighted the opportunities that refugees create for the German economy. At the same time, experts argue that the professional qualifications of immigrants should be further improved, and hiring processes simplified – for instance by reducing administrative hurdles.
Against this backdrop, the aim of “Wir zusammen” is to help refugees become part of German society, and to enable them to access training and work opportunities. To this end, since February 2016 the platform has pooled the integration projects of more than 120 companies from different sectors. The members have already created about 3,800 internships and 750 apprenticeship opportunities. Until now, 490 refugees have been taken on as employees. Almost 16,500 members are active at the companies and serve as mentors for the newly arrived.
At the beginning of September, German Federal President Joachim Gauck visited “Wir zusammen” event in Essen to gain insights into the network’s activities. In his welcoming address, the German Federal President commended the commitment of those who actively help people who have sought asylum in Germany. After his speech, the head of state spoke with representatives of the network – among them Dieter Lochbihler of the Robert Bosch GmbH works council – about the opportunities and challenges of integration. Moreover, guests had the opportunity to find out more about the alliance thanks to an exhibit about five sample projects.
As a member of “Wir zusammen”, Bosch helps young refugees prepare to live and work in their new environment. The company’s sponsorship of a project in Immenstadt in Germany’s Allgäu region reflects its commitment. The state-of-the-art manufacturing location has created three rotating internship spots for 24 young refugees who are living in the town. The aim is to help them enter the labor market more easily. The internships are run in cooperation with the Immenstadt vocational school and last six weeks each. Mentoring programs with Bosch associates as well as supporting German lessons help participants with the process of integration. Thanks to the highly motivated young interns, the first round of internships was a huge success.
More information on the work of “Wir zusammen” can be found here (only in German available).
Origin of photo material: Federal Government (Hans-Christian Plambeck) and wir zusammen.
Bosch and Primavera e.V. are supporting projects for refugees
No one expected such outstanding results: at the end of 2015, Bosch called for donations for its “Bosch hilft” project. The aim was to collect funds for refugees. From the outset, it was clear that associates were eager to help. By the beginning of 2016, associates in Germany and abroad had donated 410,000 euros to the Primavera e.V. charitable initiative, which is run by Bosch associates. The company pledged to double the total. As a result, 820,000 euros have now gone toward refugee aid projects. Associates were invited to suggest which projects they wished to support.
A committee comprising representatives of Primavera e.V., the group works council, the group advisory board, the group committee of executive representatives, coordinators for refugee aid projects, and the corporate citizenship department, selected 113 our of 185 suggestions, and these projects have since received financial support. Selection criteria included project sustainability, the volunteer involvement of Bosch associates, and regional distribution. “We spent six days discussing each submission in an open and constructive manner. In the end, the decisions were unanimous,” said Sabine Lutz, head of the corporate citizenship department.
Most of the selected projects aim to help people who have fled war and poverty become part of German society: with language lessons, sports, leisure activities, or support with bureaucracy. Organizations that provide local emergency aid have also received funding. One of them is an outpatient clinic run by Hassan Naggar, a German surgeon with Syrian roots. For the past three years, he has provided free medical treatment to refugees in Antakya, near the Syrian border. His team includes specialist physicians, a dentist, a pharmacist, a lab technician, and nurses. Just like their patients, all of them fled Syria. The clinical team treats up to 500 patients each day, among them children, pregnant women, and older people. Thanks to the Bosch donation, the hospital can now cover the cost of medication for a period of six months.
At the end of 2015, before the call for donations was made, Bosch had already made 500,000 euros available to create additional internship spots at some 30 Bosch locations for 400 young refugees, among other things. One of them is Ebrima, a young man from Gambia who has lived in Germany for two years. He is completing an internship in Waiblingen, where Bosch has created ten additional internship spots. His daily work includes gaining insights into production and assembly processes, and learning about filing, millilng, and drilling. “We want to help young people gain skills for the labor market,” says Nico Wachter, a department head at Bosch in Waiblingen. This is precisely what Ebrima is doing: he hopes to begin an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic as soon as possible.
More information on Primavera e.V.’s call for donations can be found here.
More information on how Bosch and its associates are supporting refugee aid projects can be found here.