SGRE impact is back with nine new projects!
Madrid / 14 November 2019
In 2020, SGRE impact will return with nine new projects in the United States, China, Germany, Mexico, Thailand, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Spain and Portugal. SGRE Impactis a social initiative that encourages Siemens Gamesa employees to submit proposals that will contribute towards making real change in communities where the company operates.
For this reason, SGRE impact returns in 2020 with nine new projects selected in nine different countries. Based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and focused on water and sanitation, education, gender equality, health and climate action, the program will reach out to more areas than last year with initiatives in every continent.
Once again, our employees have shown their engagement with social impact and a high level of commitment by playing their part in improving society. I am thrilled with their willingness and enthusiasm, reflected in the number of applications we have received, which cover a broader range of areas and locations than last year.
Given the intrinsic link between low income and academic achievement, this year one of our selected projects looks to address this specific need, through a partnership with Test Kitchen Foundation and their Elliott Test Kitchen program. As the applicant explained: “Kids who are hungry aren’t able to concentrate and learn. If they don’t learn, they won’t pass tests, and with time, these students fall further behind their peers. Their overall health suffers and their self-image and confidence are damaged. Elliott Test Kitchen provides a place where the students are valued, challenged, taught and fed.”
Elliott Test Kitchen looks to address this deeply-rooted issue. It strives to lift students from these circumstances through a two-pronged approach in an engaging after-school program that teaches youths to cook healthy meals while building core skills in different subjects. This year, thanks to the initiative of a Siemens Gamesa employee, we will be contributing to the continuation of this program, helping children in Fort Madison.
Starting their journey helping 10 students per week, Elliott Test Kitchen now receives more than 300 applications for the various programs they provide. Our contribution will make a difference not only in the present, but in the lives of these students and their families for years and generations to come.
However, our collaboration with the New Sunshine Charity Foundation will not end there as employees will also have the unique opportunity to visit a treatment center in Beijing, which is the temporary home for children with leukemia who come from across the country to receive treatment. There they will be able to spend time with their kids and make their stay happier by engaging them in painting, drawing, and even English teaching activities
A total of 18.7% of high school students in Ciudad Juárez drop out of school, and so do 5.4% of middle schoolers. The reasons may vary from economical and family difficulties to a lack of interest and misinformation. This situation reduces life options to: activities without social benefits, to factory work with an average salary of $US7.0 per day, or to become gang members. To help improve this situation, Siemens Gamesa will engage with Fundación AXCEL in technology activities to reduce the drop-out rate in this area. Over the course of a year, 112 middle schoolers will attend once a week, the Technology Hub and Fab Lab in Ciudad Juárez to be trained in electronics, robotics, programming and digital manufacturing, as well as vocational orientation and information on educational options in their city.
Another important objective of this project is to increase the self-esteem of the participants by getting them to trust their abilities, encouraging them to value future prospects for higher education or vocational training. In order for this work to pay off it is important that the families of these adolescents are involved in the project. This initiative will be strengthened by carrying out activities with their families to improve the support of their close environment.
The proximity of this NGO's to our Siemens Gamesa offices in Hamburg inspired one of our employees to present this project. “I think this is a reminder that because we live in a developed country, we cannot forget that not everyone has had the same luck as us, and there are a lot of children and teenagers who do not have the guidance and support necessary to escape from their difficult situations. Initiatives like this one, remind us that there is still a lot to be done, and that with small gestures we can make a big difference in young people´s lives,” she highlighted.
The project is aimed at between 5 and 15 young students who have dropped out of school. They will work on the renovation of the skating facilities with an experienced carpentry school, and provided with educational help. Girls' participation will also be encouraged to promote diversity and equality. In this way, participants will learn a profession, receive professional advice and help them develop their strengths. Young people will participate from planning to production and will be assisted by Siemens Gamesa employees in the construction and design of the ramps.
Thanks to the action already carried out in the area, female participation in football – considered a male dominated activity – has increasingly become more common within the migrant community. Unfortunately, this does not mean that gender inequality stops at the field, it is in equal access to participation where it begins.
Therefore, the Girls Empowerment Program is an initiative to close the gender gap focused on three levels: ease of access, mentorship and leadership. Through a systematic long-term female-lead approach, adapted to the local context and the local gender-issues, we aim to further improve and expand the gender equality objective of PlayOnside across our different projects.
The program also includes the construction of additional toilets for girls in the football fields, one of the main obstacles to their participation, and the transport to and from football practice as it is not safe for migrant girls to walk around Mae Sot alone after hours.
In Tanzania, only 66% of the urban population has access to proper healthcare, which leads to a high mortality rate for both adults and children. For this reason, there is a high number of kids who become orphans. They grow up without parents due to diseases such as malaria or HIV which affect the life expectancy of the population. Due to the extreme inequality that the country suffers, the situation of these kids is extremely precarious.
Elimu is an NGO that has been engaged in Tanzania for years, creating safe spaces for these children to grow up and thrive in a socially and psychologically safe environment. Elimu started their Dolphin Village project in 2015, together with the Tanzanian NGO Organization for Passion and Life (OPL) with the aim of building everything necessary to create a self-sufficient community for these children. The orphanage has already been built, but now they face the challenge of providing safe water and sanitation systems for the facilities. With prospects of constructing a bore well – the usual way of obtaining water in Tanzania – ruled out, Siemens Gamesa will help to provide a rain-water collection system and sanitary facilities for Dolphin Village.
“Working as a PA, you rarely have the feeling of being directly involved in decision-making or feel responsible for a project. SGRE impact gave me the chance to directly experience the impact that I could have on the bigger picture,” – explained Roxane Huettemann, personal assistant at Siemens Gamesa in Hamburg and applicant for this project.
However, it is not only having the means required, but to really have an impact it is just as important to provide education on the safe use of water and sanitation for both the children and neighboring villagers, a challenge that Siemens Gamesa and its employees will gladly take on.
UNHCR is working to address the basic energy and water needs of refugees in an environmentally sustainable manner. In line with this objective, Siemens Gamesa will contribute to the installation of solar-powered streetlights to a community of 9,000 refugees. This kind of measure will help improve security in the camp after sunset, especially preventing gender-based violence against women and girls.
As the applicant highlights: “In response to a crisis of these characteristics it is important that we all contribute what we can to ensure these refugees can meet their basic needs, but that does not mean the environment has to be negatively affected while we do so. This initiative is not only in line with our company´s vision of a greener, sustainable future but will be of direct benefit to 9,000 people who would otherwise live in a more unsafe environment.””.
One of the main current problems Taiwan is facing is the high level of pollution and waste present in coastal areas. This has a detrimental impact on coastal and seabed ecosystems, endangering biodiversity in littoral areas. In fact, the area where more than 70% of Taiwan´s confirmed offshore wind pipeline is to be built, Changhua county, was identified by a Greenpeace study in 2018 to have one of the highest beach pollution rates. This problem is therefore recognized as a major environmental and social threat by the local government and population.
For this reason, Queena has ensured that, through partnership with local NGO RE-THINK, Siemens Gamesa employees in Taiwan participate in a beach clean-up event in Changhua county. This will not only help the wildlife of this area, but also the local population. As Queena puts it “It is great for all of us to have this opportunity to work together to better ourselves and the environment.””.
In light of these facts, Leticia Martínez, a Siemens Gamesa engineer in Denmark, decided something had to be done, and proposed an initiative which not only gives SGRE employees the opportunity of reducing beach pollution, but also of engaging local communities and raising awareness of this issue while doing so, because this is what will make the difference. “Personally, I am very worried about the changes we are experiencing in the environment and at the same time, after 5 years living in Denmark, I am still impressed about the good education that Danish citizens have about keeping open spaces clean and reducing the consumption of hazardous substances. I realize that not all over Europe we have the same awareness about this, and I thought it would be a very good idea to apply for a project where we can raise awareness of the importance of taking care of our environment,” said Leticia.
In alliance with Fundación Ecomar, this project will consist of up to 8 beach or inland costal area clean-up events, focused on bringing together local children and SGRE employees to remove trash from the designated area, but also to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and the importance of decreasing our dependence on plastic products.