The ArcelorMittal Foundation organises solidarity holidays where our employees volunteer on a Foundation project overseas
As part of this initiative, volunteers dedicate part of their annual leave to development work in another country. On some occasions, the global volunteers work alongside with our local volunteers.
The first solidarity holidays took place in 2010, with a small group of employees travelling to the Saraya region in Senegal to help organise a mobile health camp for communities close to our mining operations. For local communities, this camp is their only access to medical care. It is set up during the rainy season, when cases of malaria rise. The volunteers provided logistical support to the camp, distributed medicines, conducted malaria tests and gave general care to patients. Thanks to the success of this first solidarity holiday, more volunteers went to Senegal in 2011 and 2012. Another mobile health camp was also carried out Liberia in 2011.
Following the success of the first project, the ArcelorMittal Foundation, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, an international non-profit organisation devoted to building decent affordable housing, has organised solidarity holidays in Argentina, Haiti, Mexico, Macedonia, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago. Volunteers helped build affordable houses for communities in economically disadvantaged districts. In Brazil, we partnered with the local NGO Ateliê de Idéias to support community development in a marginalised area of the city of Vitória. Volunteers contributed to the construction work for a community park and gave English lessons to children. Our volunteers also renovated the facilities of a community centre managed by NGOs “ChildFund Brazil” and “Associacçao Comunitária do Barrio da Felicidade”, in a marginalised community near Belo Horizonte.
In May 2011 and 2012, we went to Bosnia & Herzegovina to conduct different workshops aimed at enhancing respect and mutual understanding between children of different faiths and ethnicities. Through workshops on dance, music and theatre, our volunteer teachers encouraged these children to learn about each community. Another opportunity to work with children took our employees to our summer camp in Ukraine, which we organise every year. The volunteers, all from different countries, each taught the children about the country they come from. Not only did the experience of receiving new information about a different country stimulate the children’s curiosity, but they also managed to learn a few words in a foreign language, dances and music, to learn about the unique culture of each country.
Our volunteers also cycled 800 kilometres along the famous “Camino de Santiago” on a tandem bike with a blind cyclist, to raise awareness of retinal diseases and what it takes to care for the sight impared, and to encourage people to have regular eye checkups.
Other projects carried our by our volunteers were an environmental education project with children in India where 6,500 tree saplings were planted; the reconstruction of a library for migrant children at Beijing Shahe Experimental School (China) or building a new garden at St. Alexander Charity (Ostrava), an organization focused on disabled people. Our volunteers built pavements, fences and a parking area. They also took part in the “Dance for Life”, an event organised to raise money for St. Alexander Charity in Ostrava.
Employees across the company are enthusiastic about the solidarity holidays initiative. The ArcelorMittal Foundation aims to strengthen this opportunity for the company’s employees to make a small but real contribution to community development work.