International Volunteer Day: making the world better together

Corporate culture | Engagement | People at thyssenkrupp | Celebrating the International Volunteer Day, we tell you three stories of courageous tk people worldwide, who are carrying responsibility for their colleagues, neighbors and communities – and put our attitude of “together” into practice.

Mohammad Haidara from thyssenkrupp Elevator in Egypt

Currently, I volunteer at Ihyaa Academy (in Arabic, Ihyaa means “Reviving”), which is concerned with raising and empowering young people aged 7 to 15. The academy’s objective is to raise youth awareness about themselves in the first place – their internal capabilities – and in the community. This is done through workshops which differ in short-term objectives but all have the big objective of knowing themselves very well and accordingly picking the proper field of interest to have a positive effect in the community.

The young people are also divided into teams, with each team working on a product from the very early stage of planning and creating their own vision and mission, taking in project execution and delivery, and then competing with each other in a competition held at the end of the academic season. The winning team gains business incubation support from the academy, putting them on the path to starting their own business.

The academy opened in May 2010, I joined them in May 2011. Firstly, I volunteered there as coach – for participants – and I am currently part of the management team with responsibility for “Parents’ Relationship Management”. There is a Facebook page (Ihyaa Academy) and a website, which is currently under reconstruction:

Cindy Jaeger from thyssenkrupp in the United States

Late summer in the United States is hurricane season, and in 2017 the US experienced a particularly destructive series of storms, namely Harvey, Irma and Maria. Over the course of just one month, these three powerful hurricanes tore through the Caribbean and made landfall in the US, striking Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, leaving extreme damage in their wake.

A number of thyssenkrupp employees lost their homes in the aftermath of the storms and many more were affected through friends and family. In addition to monetary donations by the business areas and the Regional Headquarters to the Red Cross, many employees were inspired to help in other ways. So thyssenkrupp’s “Operation Clean Up” was born.

After securing logistics support from Material Services in the form of two tractor trailers, routes were planned from Detroit to Houston and Toledo to Miami. Facilities from all business areas committed to collecting cleaning supplies to support those engaged in the monumental recovery efforts. Stopping at almost 20 locations, the trucks were loaded by employees who also took the opportunity to send their best wishes by signing the special banners on the trucks. One truck even maneuvered through the crowded streets of downtown Chicago to pick up donations from the North American Regional Headquarters.

“Operation Clean Up” was the most visible thyssenkrupp response to the storms but many other thyssenkrupp facilities sent critical supplies directly to Houston, Miami and Puerto Rico. The giving spirit demonstrated by all employees during these crises is a living example of how we are better together at thyssenkrupp.

Thi Minh Ngoc Ha from thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Vietnam

In December 2016, colleagues from Industrial Solutions and Elevator Technology Vietnam got together to plan a charity program led by the respective Labor Unions. The program, previously carried out in both 2014 and 2015, involves volunteers from both business areas going to Ha Giang Province, a mountainous commune about 258 kilometers North of Hanoi, to give an Ethnic Primary School the support it needed.

The primary school provides schooling to nearly 300 minority ethnic people who travel an average of 2-4 hours on foot to school. As a result, most students stay in the school dormitory and only return home at the weekend.  Being in a rural location with students to care for, the school needed school supplies and support for the improvement of its facilities.

Through conversations with the school, we came to understand their needs and started a fund. The team successfully raised 44,000,000 dong (about 1,650 euros) to buy necessities such as blankets, chairs, electric fans, and a set of drums. Through the kind donations of all colleagues, we also managed to collect books, notebooks, clothes, shoes, toys, etc.

On D-day, the items were loaded on a truck and driven 6 hours through mountainous and sloppy roads alongside a team of 29 volunteers from IS and ET Vietnam plus family and friends. Our team of volunteers were welcomed with open arms and were able to experience cultural exchanges such as bamboo dances and stilt walks with the North Vietnam ethnic people. The volunteers also managed to spend time with kids from an orphanage before heading back to Hanoi.

The program was an amazing experience for our volunteers and truly showed thyssenkrupp’s spirit of social responsibility. More importantly though was the experience of seeing those happy faces and knowing our contributions helped.

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