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News | Learning on a full stomach

Bosch India provides warm meals to underprivileged school children

In India, many needy families face a dilemma: if they send their children to school, they often have too little money left over to pay for food. And if children have to work, they do not have access to education, cannot learn an occupation, and thus cannot escape poverty.

 

Bosch India - Akshaya Patra Foundation - Food at School

 

In order to provide these children with educational opportunities, Bosch India is supporting the construction of a canteen kitchen not far from the city of Bengaluru. As soon as February, the kitchen is set to start delivering warm lunches to 15,000 school children each day in the vicinity of the new Bosch manufacturing site in Bidadi. There are many state schools in the region that are attended mainly by children from poor families. “With the offer of a warm meal, we are providing families with an incentive to send their children to school,” explains Om Parkash Goel of Bosch India. “But we are also creating jobs: we need 80 employees to run the kitchen.” In addition to funding the project and providing all the required utensils, Bosch has also supported the project with its expertise in the areas of project and purchasing management.

The Indian NGO Akshaya Patra (“food bowl”) has carried out the project. The foundation has supported the education of underprivileged children since 2000 by providing them warm, healthy meals. Today, the organization offers lunch to as many as 1.7 million children at 13,529 schools each day. It has a far-reaching logistical network and expertise in preparing and distributing food for canteen kitchens. While Akshaya Patra is funded with state subsidies, corporate donations are an indispensable part of its budget. Bosch was referred to the Akshaya Patra Foundation by associates that volunteer for the NGO.

More information on the Akshaya Patra Foundation can be found here.

 

Picture by Akshaya Patra Foundation.

News | Three focal points for more humanity

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.

News | Bosch committed to helping children in need

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.

News | Setting a good example

Up and coming Bosch executives volunteer with social projects

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carré

What are the characteristics of a good executive? In addition to specialist knowledge and sound judgment, many employers place a great deal of importance on their employees’ social skills and commitment to charitable causes. With its “Talent Pool” program, Bosch also encourages up and coming executives to volunteer. In teams comprising associates from different locations and divisions, young executives have the opportunity to volunteer for social projects.

 

This year’s Talent Pool participants at an event promoting social commitment at Bosch locations

 

Participants can decide how much time they spend working on the project and coordinate their work independently within the project team. In most cases, the teams also define targets and distribute roles and responsibilities themselves. “We strongly believe that this type of cooperation is very important,” says Mariana Peters, who works in HR development for Bosch corporate departments. “Often, participants are confronted with tasks that are completely new to them. So they need to be flexible and able to adapt to new situations.”

In 2016, 79 members of the Bosch Talent Pool from corporate departments took part in the program. Divided into eight teams, they supported a selection of charitable projects from the region, among them a local initiative that supports the integration of refugees in the workplace, as well as a project that promotes access for people with disabilities. In recent months, the project team comprising 10 up and coming executives helped create a city map for people with disabilities in Gerlingen, a suburb of Stuttgart. To this end, they scoped the town for barriers to accessibility and spoke with restaurant owners and local clubs about improving offers for people with disabilities.

In October, the participants presented their projects at a local event and talked about their experiences, which were positive across the board. The volunteers stated that the teamwork was decisive to the success of their projects. “For us, volunteering for a social project is an important building block for leadership skills,” says Mariana Peters. “We see how important open communication and responsibility are, and their importance keeps growing every day. With this project, we aim to enable up and coming executives to further sharpen these skills in an unknown environment, reflect on them in a timely manner, and make adjustments wherever necessary.” In the spirit of company founder Robert Bosch, participants make an important contribution to social well-being with their involvement in charitable initiatives. At the same time, they sharpen their leadership skills and set a good example for their future employees. 

More information on the Bosch Talent Pool can be found here.

News | First steps into the job market

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.