2016 was a special year for us: On one hand, MAM marked its 40th birthday – a reason for celebration. On the other hand, the refugee crisis presented us with great challenges. Help was needed everywhere. We thought: Why don’t we use our anniversary to help the refugees?
This is how we got the idea for our Facebook campaign: In November we held a sweepstakes on our Facebook page in which 40 of our fans could win a 40th anniversary package. And not just that: Every response to this post – whether a like, share or a comment – meant help for refugee children. There were 2,200 responses by the end of the sweepstakes. For us that meant: We donated €2,200 worth of MAM products to the Red Cross, which provides care for children in refugee centres. The Red Cross was thankful for all of the teethers, bottles, toothbrushes and other much needed items for babies and toddlers. And we were truly glad that we could help in a meaningful way.
So many people have come from war zones to Austria in the last two years! And like so many others, we wanted to help. After focusing on urgent needs the year before, we wanted to continue and make progress in other areas. We learned that there was a house in Baden bei Wien, where the Diakonie Refugee Services have been assisting 200 refugees, including unaccompanied minors and families with children, since February. The Paul Weiland House also has a garden. We thought we could build a playground, which would provide a space for all of the children living there to enjoy. We needed some help to do this, though. And help we got, from Linsbauer, a maker of playground equipment.
One mild, October day, we were ready. Colleagues travelled from Vienna, Siegendorf and Hungary – with clothes, blankets, toys, toiletries, starter sets for the mothers-to-be in the house and loads of motivation. We started by getting rid of all the vines and weeds and then, side by side with the professionals and piece by piece, we built the playground: Sandboxes, slides, basket swings and more. By the end of our company volunteer day the garden, which just a few hours before was wild and overgrown, was transformed into a little oasis of fun. The residents of the house were very happy and extremely grateful. We were even rewarded: A Syrian chef, whose restaurant in Aleppo fell victim to war, treated us to some delicious foods from his homeland. A wonderful day with something for everyone!
The state of New York is a great place to live – especially if you can afford health care. Sadly, not everyone has the same opportunities. For those who are very poor, the cost of seeing a doctor is unaffordable. A sick child can be a serious problem for parents since there is often not enough money for medicine.
In times like these, facilities such as the Blythedale Children's Hospital are a blessing. The hospital, which specialises in paediatrics, has more than just 120 years of experience in providing emergency care. It also has an excellent reputation when it comes to developing exceptionally innovative treatment concepts for young patients. They care for, treat and comfort over 2,500 children and families each year. What Blythedale does is incredible – so we decided to help: On our corporate volunteer day in the fall we accompanied the doctors and nurses while they performed their daily routines. What we experienced that day moved us deeply. The little boys and girls showed us just what courage means. Their gratitude really touched us. The staff puts their heart and soul into helping children and their parents in their fight against illness and poverty. Our contribution was only a very small one. But, the experience showed us what a wonderful privilege it is to be able to help. Many thanks to all of our dedicated colleagues!
- Brazil: Donations in kind and collection campaigns for people in need
- Germany: Donation to the German Children’s Cancer Foundation instead of Christmas gifts
- France: Donation of €16,000 to PREMUP, an organisation which conducts research for preterm health
- Sweden: Donation to UNHCR instead of Christmas gifts
- Switzerland: Donations in kind for the victims of the August 2016 earthquake in Italy
- Thailand: Collection of donations for the Ben Mae Marm School, a Thai Austrian Society project
- UK: Donations were made, amongst others, for CLAPA, a charitable organisation helping people with cleft lip and palate
- Hungary: Cash donations and donations in kind to renovate a kindergarten