Find out more about 63 volunteer projects: Africa| Asia| Australia & New Zealand| Europe| Latin America| Middle East| North America


Bayer Employees Volunteer for Social Projects All over the World

Fu helps children in the earthquake region Yunnan and shows them how to carry out scientific experiments. Nine Bayer employees in Bogotá, Colombia, are encouraging children in the poorest part of the city to take an interest in programming while, in Ukraine, Lyudmila brings a smile to the faces of young patients at the children’s hospital in Kharkiv.

These are just three of the more than 550 projects in 65 countries that are being supported by Bayer volunteers who want to improve the lives of people living close to the company’s international sites. The Bayer Cares Foundation helps them to run their charitable initiatives with funding of up to EUR 5,000 per project. This is a further expression of our company’s mission – “Bayer: Science For A Better Life.”

Find out more about how to apply for project funding.

Discover the many and varied projects that our employees are running around the world:

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  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • North America

Yolande Chellan, Isando in South Africa

Partner: Dermatology Clinic of Grey’s Hospital, Pietermaritzburg in South Africa

The “Man shall not live on bread alone” project aims to help socially disadvantaged patients who have to undertake a journey of several days for treatment in the rural hospital. “We give them food such as powdered milk, purees, bread or peanut butter to satisfy their hunger during the long waiting times,” reports Yolande. At the same time, the project workers use this timeframe to try and promote values such as motivation, discipline and solidarity for a functioning society.

Miguel Lachiver, Mondouzil in France

Partner: Association Rosalie Echange Solidarité, Saint Jean in Madagascar

The idea behind Miguel’s project is for subsistence farmers to form cooperatives comprising three families in each case, which will then share two zebus, a plow, a harrow and a weeding trowel. “This enables us to tackle underdevelopment and malnutrition in one of the poorest countries in the world,” says Lachiver. The initiative also aims to promote social cohesion and mutual support among the farmers. “Above all, however, we are trying to reduce people’s dependence on food aid and boost their sense of dignity.” Around 500 people benefit from the agricultural sharing model.

Younes Lekkrami, Mohammedia in Morocco

Partner: Association of Young Moroccan Managers, Mohammedia in Morocco

Schoolchildren with visual impairments are severely disadvantaged when it comes to learning and everyday life if their poor eyesight is not corrected. “However, families living in the country have no money for examinations or to buy spectacles,” says Younes. In coordination with the Ministry of Education and Health, 3,000 schoolchildren in 30 schools received a visit from a mobile eye caravan. “If bad eyesight is discovered, the young people receive suitable spectacles. This helps prevent the children potentially dropping out of school, and improves their learning and living situation,” says Younes. The volunteers expect to find around 300 children with impaired vision, and the costs will amount to about 20 euros per patient.

Eva Wainaina, Nairobi in Kenya

Partner: Elementary School, Eva Wainaina, Nairobi in Kenya

Three years ago, Eva and her mother donated some land, which launched an important project to construct an elementary school for orphans and children with HIV. “Without this support, they would fall into criminality and prostitution,” Eva says. “With our help, they can escape the vicious circle of poverty, illiteracy and despondency.” The current project is focusing on updating the kitchen equipment, above all. “The new gas and electric hobs not only improve the quality of the meals the 30 schoolchildren receive, but the kitchen staff can also work more efficiently and in pleasant conditions.”

Joelle Donnadieu, Mondouzil in France

Partner: The Friends of Jenny and Jessica, Antananarivo in Madagascar

Joelle’s initiative supports a neonatal clinic in Madagascar. The achievements of the project at the 160-bed clinic include providing new mattresses with replaceable covers, refurbishing toilets and installing – for the first time – showers. “By making what is, for us, a small contribution, we are giving poor people who have to live with a great deal of uncertainty access to basic medical care and a little comfort,” says Joelle, describing what makes her project special. “I think that’s hugely enriching.”

Elaf Murad, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Partner: “Sunrise,” a modern center for intensive physiotherapy, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Collages and images with colorful motifs and sculptures of “crazy hats,” the results of a free art therapy workshop for more than 30 autistic children. The project takes place in the “Sunrise” center, where children with disabilities receive speech therapy and physiotherapy. “Experimenting with colors and fabrics brightens everybody's lives up, especially those of children who cannot express themselves in words,” says Elaf Murad. At the end of the project the children present their works of art in an exhibition. “You can really see just how proud they and their parents are – and I can't help but smile,” says the Bayer employee.

Alexandra Goncharova, Rostov in Russia

Partner: Center for the Protection of Pregnant Women and Young Mothers, Rostov in Russia

“Let’s grow up healthy” is the name of Alexandra’s project that aims to support mothers who have no financial means to buy baby food. In specific terms, the project focuses on milk products for babies up to the age of 18 months, which are massively important to a baby’s development. “Children are our future. We want them to grow up without going hungry and thus lay the foundations for their future health,” remarks Alexandra.

Xin Gong, Tianjin in China

Partner: Students’ Association of Tianjin University, Tianjin in China

Xin Gong is involved in the “Young people for a better environment” program, which is dedicated to protecting the environment and educating students about environmental issues. Bayer volunteers and more than 3,000 students are working together on the project to protect the natural environment in seven communities and 13 agricultural businesses. What results can they show? “The population is conserving electricity and water, the carbon dioxide exchange has been reduced and the agricultural land has been enriched using earthworms,” says Xin Gong. An open competition is currently under way, in which students are planning their own environmental protection measures. “They are taking on even more responsibility, and are learning about creative thinking and team and communication skills,” says Gong.

Melisa Li Yi Chong, Petaling Jaya in Malaysia

Partner: Refuge for the Refugees, Petaling Jaya in Malaysia

Every Saturday a brunch is held for the children of refugees. “A balanced diet is a cornerstone for these crucial years in their physical, psychological and emotional development – and it is a basic right for girls and boys, including in terms of their later educational prospects,” says Melisa. The students also learn important facts about food hygiene and are given cookery courses – which means they can prepare food for their families.

Duyen Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam

Partner: “Doctors for hope and neighborly love,” Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam

Cervical cancer is one of the most widespread illnesses in Vietnam. Duyen’s project offers education and early diagnosis tests for approximately 400 women living in rural areas around the Vietnamese capital. “They work hard in the agricultural sector,” says Nguyen. “Nonetheless, they are frequently not wealthy enough to afford medical care.” The goal of the project is to improve knowledge about cervical illnesses, create awareness of hygiene and a healthy lifestyle and use smear tests to diagnose potential cancer. The recovery rate when cancer is caught at an early stage is 100 percent.

Aigul Zhakupova, Almaty in Kazakhstan

Partner: Nur Family Orphanage, Talgar in Kazakhstan

This project is providing the family orphanage with new windows. “Until recently, the children at Nur froze in the cold and had to sleep in their coats throughout the long winters,” says Aigul. The facility is run by a sprightly pair of pensioners and is currently home to 110 young people, 60 of whom are university students. The couple both feel it is important to assume the parental role, as far as possible, by taking a keen interest in their children’s education and sense of security. Unlike state institutions, the young inhabitants can remain at the orphanage till they start their own families.

Anand Srinivasan, Thane in India

Partner: Sri Yadugiri School, Melukote in India

Stopping child labor and improving women’s job prospects were Anand Srinivasan’s objectives when he launched his education project in 2004. Some 200 schoolchildren from socially deprived rural areas are currently attending this facility, and the first cohort of youngsters has just successfully completed the full nine years of schooling there. “A good school education significantly improves the future prospects of our students, who are threatened with child labor,” Anand says. “And we hope they will remain in Melukote and thus inspire progress in our region.” The schoolchildren are taught mainly by local teachers.

Thi Ngoc Han Le, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam

Partner: “Refuge in the eighth district” orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

“Disturbed sleep and a grumbling stomach do not make good conditions for academic success,” says Thi Ngoc. The project will replace old sleeping mats with bunk beds, mattresses, pillows and blankets for 20 children, and dairy and meat products will be added to the breakfast, which is currently very basic. “Our disadvantaged children go to school with a good night’s sleep behind them and their bellies full after a hearty breakfast, which improves their chances of a good education and a better life,” says Han Le.

Mary Valintine, Auckland in New Zealand

Partner: New Zealand Epilepsy Assistant Dogs Trust (NZEADT), Auckland in New Zealand

Three young dogs are being trained to become long-term companions to people suffering from severe epilepsy. “The animals pick up epileptic attacks, even before they occur. This gives the sufferers far more control over their lives and increases their self-confidence,” says Mary, the veterinary practitioner responsible for the selection and health care of the dogs.

Denise Metthews, Wollongbar in Australia

Partner: Northern Rivers Animal Services, Ballina in Australia

The Aboriginal inhabitants of Bundjalung National Park have a close relationship to their dogs and cats. However, the animals carry many diseases and reproduce unchecked. All this affects the health of both humans and animals. The rangers from Ballina Shire support the basic care and controlled breeding of the animals and pass on important information to the inhabitants. “We are improving the health of the community and also our relationship with the local Aborigines, and that is hugely important to us,” explains Denise.

Elena Armasu, Chisinau in Moldova

Partner: “Little People” Association, Chisinau in Moldova

Students of medicine and psychology use drama performances, parlor games and art therapy to bring a bit more color to the day-to-day lives of around 60 children with cancer in the Oncology Institute of the Moldovan hospital. The leisure activities have a lot of beneficial effects, with the boys and girls growing in confidence and being more willing to cooperate in their treatment, which leads to better outcomes. “Cancer is no reason to give up,” says Elena. “We want to give them courage and show love and compassion. It’s about the children’s chances of survival!”

Turker Aydin, Istanbul in Turkey

Partner: Menemen elementary school, Izmir in Turkey

Good handwashing can save lives – of that, Turker is sure. “It is the very first defense against illnesses from a simple cold to serious diarrhoeal diseases, which many children in Turkey fall victim to.” That is why he is committed to the project “Health is the real wealth,” which is being rolled out in a pilot phase at Menemen elementary school. “It is in a socially disadvantaged region where hygiene standards are miserable,” says Turker. The project involves repairing toilets and procuring soap dispensers and other hygiene materials. There is also training on the importance of regular handwashing and wash calendars made by Bayer.

Jana Caletkova, Prague in the Czech Republic

Partner: Boruvka Prague, Prague in the Czech Republic

“I work, therefore I am.” That is what the Boruvka program, which aims to integrate people with physical disabilities into everyday work, is all about. Participants learn key skills for various jobs such as sewing and bookbinding, with their training tailored to their specific circumstances. “We help people gain long-term employment on the labor market and financial independence,” says Jana. The goal of the program is also to make people with disabilities a more visible part of society.

Andrei Cazacu, Bucharest in Romania

Partner: Medical Students’ Society, Bucharest in Romania

Some 40 volunteer medics working in the rural areas of Romania are providing examinations and preventive services for issues such as balanced diet, cancer prevention and vaccination. “We believe this type of medical education can give socially disadvantaged families better long-term prospects in life,” says Cazacu. People from ethnic minorities, such as the Roma population, are also benefiting from the project.

Muriel Crappeel-Balas, Lyon in France

Partner: 1,2,3 Dys, Francheville in France

The project gives young people who suffer from ADHS and dyspraxia the tools they need to cope better in school and working environments. It successfully combines several meditation techniques to give participants alternative learning strategies and train them in basic skills related to perception, cognitive processes and identification. “We achieve improvements that help our participants get a traineeship and start a career just like other people their age,” says Muriel.

Anna Hrymchak, Kiev in Ukraine

Partner: “Rivival” rehabilitation center for children with disabilities, Chernihiv in Ukraine

Chernihiv is one of the most remote regions of Ukraine. There is only one organization in this region that is active in the rehabilitation of children with disabilities – Rivival. The project will add a physical therapy room with home trainers, exercise balls and special equipment for children with physical disabilities to the facility. “We can now provide sport activities for 10 children a day and 1,500 boys and girls a year, thus improving the quality of life for many children and their wonderful families,” says Anna.

Marisca Marian, Bucharest in Romania

Partner: “Anna and the Children” Association, Bucharest in Romania

Some 50 severely at risk boys and girls between the ages of four and 17 receive a regular afternoon program including homework tutoring and organized leisure activities. “We play games together, visit museums and do sports in the park,” says Marisca. “All the time, we are teaching the children the importance of a structured routine and a good education.” The initiative also aims to cut the numbers of children dropping out of school – currently around 20 percent in Romania.

Vassiliki Massoura, Athens in Greece

Partner: Acharnes Municipal Authority, Acharnes in Greece

The population of Greece has been hit hard by the financial crisis. In the poorest areas of the Attica region, a little grocery shop is providing some relief thanks to the initiative of Bayer Hellas employees. It provides needy families with a monthly ration of olive oil, rice and bread, along with detergent, clothing, school supplies and toys. “We receive a wide range of material donations, and more than 100 households already benefit from our offer,” says Vassiliki. “We aim to extend our range and thus set up the grocery stores for the long term.”

Tatiana Nichosova, Kiev in Ukraine

Partner: CFA Society, Kiev in Ukraine

The “Encouraging future generations of investment professionals” program improves the educational level of students in the field of economics and management. “The renowned CFA project is considered one of the best in the world for investment specialists,” says Tatiana. Guest speakers lecture students and talk about ethical behavior in the investment community, the importance of professional certification and the current economic situation. Some 1,600 students at over 20 universities took part in the initiative in the first year of the project. There are also round tables, where university professors discuss training and career opportunities with business representatives.

Gabriela Peterka, Vienna in Austria

Partner: Hope Initiative, Vienna in Austria

Amateur actors have been performing fairytales in the Pfarre Krim church in Vienna for around 30 years. Some 2,000 children and adults attend the productions every year. The proceeds go to the “Hope Initiative,” which runs two children’s homes in the Transylvania region of Romania. “Abandoned children live in a family-like atmosphere there and are given a school education, which should enable them to live independently later in life,” Gabriela says. At the same time, the youngsters in Vienna also benefit from taking part in the theater’s activities. “There is clear evidence that exposure to fairytales aids the children’s development,” she says.

Maria Antonietta Schembri, Milan in Italy

Partner: San Bendedetto Opera, Milan in Italy

“Let’s get in the game” is the slogan of the Camilla Laboratory run by the charitable organization that develops special toys for children with disabilities. “Children interact with the world in the form of play – this is particularly true for disabled girls and boys,” Maria explains. “The stimulation generated during play forms a key part of their rehabilitation therapy.” A prime example is the toys made for visually impaired children, which have stronger contrasts in color, shape and size than regular toys.

Atanas Tsanov, Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Partner: National Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, Plovdiv in Bulgaria

The “Dolphins” project concerns teaching IT skills to the blind. Software that is specially adapted for the target group is used to convert text documents from websites, social media and digital study books into audio versions in conjunction with special multi-touch computers. “This enables us to focus on honing the senses other than sight that can be put to efficient use working with IT and in everyday life – in the same way dolphins do by using more than their eyes to navigate,” Atanas says. Upon completion of the course, the participants are awarded the European ECDL PC license, which certifies their aptitude for office and administrative tasks or for working in call centers.

Swesdelina Weltschewa, Barcelona in Spain

Partner: Sanu Foundation, Vilafranca in Spain

This initiative is in aid of a small orphanage in Nepal. Structural weaknesses mean the foundation is being laid for a new house, and some of the project funds are being used to purchase a solar panel. “Electricity is only available 16 hours a day in Nepal,” Swesdelina explains. “The alternative power supply can run the refrigerator non-stop and provide the children with light to complete their homework in the evenings.” The second part of the project “Sun for Sanu – Photos and Energy for a better LIFE” involves a hiking exhibition with poignant photographs. “I hope my pictures inspire people to donate money for the orphanage or to start volunteering.”

Michael Ochan Kilama, Milan in Italy

Partner: AVES Uganda, Milan in Italy

Conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are increasing dramatically in tropical Africa, too. However, local health facilities are almost completely focused on treating infectious diseases. In the village of Paico, a specialist medical center has therefore been opened. Its goals are to treat patients, create greater awareness of cardio-vascular and metabolic conditions, and support research activities in these fields. “We are trying to give the local population a sense of what a healthier lifestyle is like,” says Michael.

Javier Alfonso Villar Guerra, Barranquilla in Colombia

Partner: May 1st education initiative, Barranquilla in Colombia

20 young people are gathering valuable experience by becoming involved in a communal radio station. They are learning how to express themselves and organize workflows and finding out how journalists play their part in the democratic process. “Through the ‘Conscientious Reporter’ project, we are improving the job prospects of young people in a sector where they can play a part in shaping sustainable social developments,” says Javier Villar.

Zaida Bernal, Mexico City in Mexico

Partner: “Blind Journeys” association, Mexico City in Mexico

Riding tandems, visiting the Chocolate Museum and going to the theater – just three of the many activities that Zaida and other volunteers pursue with around 250 people who have visual impairments. “Coming on our trips plays a big part in their social integration,” says Zaida, who goes on the excursions every Sunday. Part of the project is also a course, during which volunteer companions are given special awareness training for the needs of blind people. “It’s important to have this awareness, as it creates empathy and ultimately helps the whole of society.”

Fernanda Frantz, Porto Alegre in Brazil

Partner: Therapy with Pets, Porto Alegre in Brazil

Rabbits, parrots, parakeets and dogs – they are all part of a treatment program for socially isolated people. “Less stress, more empathy and improved memory – interaction with animals helps our participants feel better about life,” explains Fernanda. In her capacity as a vet for the project, she looks after the animals who are such important companions to older people and people with disabilities and emotional problems. The program is interdisciplinary in nature and is supported by psychologists, vets, education experts and physiotherapists.

Karen Lady Bohórquez Cubillos, Bogota in Colombia

Partner: Yireh Foundation, Bogota in Colombia

Karen Lady is committed to a music and soccer school for young people in the Bosa district of the Colombian capital. Domestic abuse, alcoholism and casual labor play a big part in the everyday life of many people in this socially disadvantaged area. “We want to give the children a foundation that will enable them to harness their potential,” she says. Around 90 children take advantage of the sport, dance and music activities that are on offer – and benefit from many new skills that they can also use to help shape a non-violent society.

Diana Carolina Guaricela Borja, Quito in Ecuador

Partner: “House of Mercy,” Quito in Ecuador

Coming together through music instead of taking drugs and alcohol – that is the spirit behind this project, which gives young people aged between 12 and 18 from the Zámbiza quarter of the city the opportunity to participate in a two-year music program. “This is a preventive approach to a very complex social problem in our region,” says Diana. “Music helps the young people to bolster their sense of self-worth and develop skills such as dexterity and decision-making, which will have a positive influence on their families and their own path in life.”

Ana Karina Garcia, Guatemala City in Guatemala

Partner: Education organization for the deaf, Guatemala City in Guatemala

Ana Garcia has launched a pilot project with interactive teaching for deaf people. Some 48 children under the age of six are taking part. Special teaching materials and techniques make the learning process enjoyable and focused for participants. “We are breaking down the barriers of silence with our model,” says Ana. “I will conduct studies to support the roll-out of our interactive teaching system and hope that I will be able to motivate other organizations to follow suit.”

Ruben Gil, Maracaibo in Venezuela

Partner: Center for Sexual Education, Maracaibo in Venezuela

Unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of sexual diseases – a lack of sex education for young people has a lot of negative consequences and “this is precisely the kind of knowledge that is missing in Venezuelan society,” says Ruben. The project, which is being carried out in collaboration with 10 local schools, aims to put that right. Together with 200 teachers and 1,500 parents, more than 3,000 students are being given information on how to respect their own body, protect themselves from infections and value relationships founded on mutual respect. The innovative nature of the project is beyond doubt: “It is the only project of its type in Venezuela, one we hope will trigger a cultural change in our country,” says Gil.

Sandra Lucia Gonzalez Granados, Barranquilla in Colombia

Partner: Yireh Foundation, Barranquilla in Colombia

Growing old with dignity – that is the objective that this care home for the elderly in Barranquilla is pursuing for its residents. “They are frequently on their own and need special care during the final stages of their lives,” says Sandra Gonzales, talking about the residents. Around 90 percent of staff at the home are volunteers. They look after the basic needs of the residents and provide psychological care. The project aims to improve the infrastructure of the care home and the quality of care that the non-fee-paying residents receive.

Silvia Rivas Jurado, San Salvador in El Salvador

Partner: La Escalón school booster club, El Salvador

15- to 18-year-old students learn how to cultivate vegetable gardens and study the basic techniques for cultivating and caring for fruit and vegetable cultures. “This increases the quality of the food consumed in the school,” says Silvia. “Above all, however, the young people gain knowledge that they will be able to apply in their community gardens, which will benefit more than 700 families.”

Rosa Magda Miguel Gonzalez, Santa Domingo in Dominican Republic

Partner: “Our Little Brothers” organization, Santa Domingo in Dominican Republic

This project aims to modernize the irrigation system for the “Casa Santa Ana” orphanage in San Pedro de Macorís. “We really value the importance of high-quality food for our 250 girls and boys,” says Rosa. “That is why we are growing our own fruit and vegetables in our garden.” Thanks to the new irrigation system, the orphanage can make efficient use of water resources, deter pests and increase production. “What’s more, the children are learning to adopt a responsible approach to the cultivation of agricultural land,” explains Gonzales.

Ximena Lozano Alvarez-Maza, Lima in Peru

Partner: “Red Ball” Association, Lima in Peru

“Music and laughter is the best medicine for improving the quality of life of young patients,” says Ximena Lozano. Her moon ball project brings volunteer musicians and clowns to visit children’s hospitals. The visits generally take place in the evenings so as to help the boys and girls relax and help them sleep. “Laughter therapy has a proven track record of achieving positive psychosocial effects,” explains Lozano. It is not just the patients who benefit from this – the physicians, nursing staff and relatives do, too. “We have often been told that our music brings a magical atmosphere to the late evening emptiness on the wards.”

Kristell Leytan Morales, Guatemala City in Guatemala

Partner: “ADECEOH A NEW DAY” development organization, Guatemala City in Guatemala

Kristell Morales is working to provide clean water for the El Jute community. Around 300 socially disadvantaged families benefit from the installation of a water purifier and training courses on how to use this precious resource properly in personal hygiene and nutrition. “Using dirty water can lead to serious gastric disorders that can sometimes even kill small children. This is what we are trying to prevent,” says Kristell. “Our project improves their quality of life and also brings a little bit of justice to families not really favored by fortune.”

Glauco Matos, Sao Paulo in Brazil

Partner: Saica Alencar Gomes Ferreira, Sao Paulo in Brazil

The organization provides a home for 21 children aged between two and 16 who were neglected or abused in their parental home. “The beds in our facility are broken, the children’s clothing and shoes are in a very bad state, and teenage girls have to sleep in bedrooms with no doors,” explains Glauco, who started in the project as a music teacher and now helps out in almost every area. “The project funds enable us to improve the quality of life of young people who had given up even the last glimmer of hope.”

Fabiano Ricardo Murta, Feira de Santana-Bahia in Brazil

Partner: ASSEC: Planters Association of Christ, Feira de Santana-Bahia in Brazil

Bread, cake and cookies are all produced in the mini bakery in the daycare center Fabiano supports. For many of the roughly 110 boys and girls looked after here, the meals in the daycare center are the only ones they have all day. “Our bakery is efficiently equipped, and forms the basis for the production of a huge amount of food,” explains Fabiano. The baked goods are sold at trade fairs, exhibitions and specialist markets. This allows the bakery project to pursue another goal. “We provide permanent jobs for a large number of mothers. We are happy to be able to provide families with a reliable income,” says Fabiano.

Milena Cristiana Pereira, São Paulo in Brazil

Partner: Pro-World Citizens, São Paulo in Brazil

English lessons to create equal opportunities – this is the goal of Milena’s project. One day each month, some 450 highly qualified experts come to teach foreign language skills to schoolchildren from socially deprived areas in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. “Only 7.5 percent of Brazilians speak English,” Milena says. “But this skill earns you 30 to 50 percent more in Latin America – and your job prospects hugely increase on the labor market.” We want to unleash schoolchildren’s intellectual curiosity, foster a positive attitude toward education and boost their belief that they can continue to succeed at school.”

Maria Gabriela Gonzales Perez, Quito in Ecuador

Partner: Fe Parish Church, Quito in Ecuador

The “Gift from Heaven” project provides the elderly, single mothers and the disabled with healthy meals. The food is served in the newly equipped dining hall, funded by donations, where some 150 people gather in sanitary conditions every Monday to Friday. The program also contains a social element. “While they are here, we try to communicate core values and encourage our guests to make lasting changes to their lifestyles,” Maria explains. “Here we apply the old adage: ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.”

Claudia Vanessa Alvarenga Quintana, Tegucigalpa in Honduras

Partner: Solidaridad Children’s Aid Organization, Tegucigalpa in Honduras

“Access to basic sanitary systems is an important key to preventing malnutrition, fighting poverty and fostering positive development in local communities,” Claudia explains. For this reason, 36 families across Montaña Izopo, a region in central Honduras, are each being given a water closet and advice on how to use the drainage system correctly. In total, around 180 people are benefiting from this improvement to hygiene and the better standard of living it brings.

Hector Quiroz, Managua in Nicaragua

Partner: Care Home for the Elderly, Managua in Nicaragua

Hector’s project improves the standard of hygiene in the bathrooms, bedrooms and dining rooms of the elderly care home – for example by purchasing mattresses, towels, bath robes and cutlery. “We are improving the health standard and comfort of more than 70 forlorn old people,” Quiroz says. This offers them some happiness during the latter stages of their lives. That makes me happy too.”

Carmen Quintana, Lima in Peru

Partner: San Camilo House, Lima in Peru

San Camilo provides a home for HIV-positive orphans. To date, the facility has cared for some 150 infants aged up to three years, around 80 children between the ages of four and 18, and 25 pregnant women. They are given nutritious food, medical and psychological support and educational opportunities. “We want to lay a foundation that enables the children to go on to lead the healthiest and productive lives possible,” says Quintana, explaining the goals of the project.

Diana Saenz, Lima in Peru

Partner: Center for the Prevention of Child Malnutrition, Lima in Peru

A training program teaches young women and mothers in the Pamplona Alta settlement useful knowledge and skills for their own homes and as domestic aids, such as cooking, first aid and how to use a computer. “It is important for us that women can use their knowledge long-term for the community and thus assume social responsibility of their own accord,” Saenz explains.

Mitchelle Romero, San Jose in Costa Rica

Partner: Abraham Foundation Children’s Daycare Center, Tres Rios in Costa Rica

Mitchelle’s daycare center project provides a new, brightly colored facility made from natural materials such as plaster and wood. A designer’s touch has turned the monotonous, drab walls of the care rooms into a cheerful environment inspired by nature. “The mood of our 225 children is vastly improved by the mixture of colors,” Mitchelle says. “What’s more, the murals raise their awareness of natural resources. We hope this will encourage them to become long-term proponents of environmental conservation.”

Martin Bartolome de Urtiaga, Buenos Aires in Argentina

Partner: “La Mestiza” Local Health Center, Buenos Aires in Argentina

Martin’s project is all about creating an awareness of responsible sexual behavior. The target group is young people living in the eighth and ninth districts of Buenos Aires, which belong to the most socially deprived areas of the city. “The number of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases is very high here, particularly among young people. We want to reduce these rates,” Martin says. In order to get through to the young people, 17 to 28 year-olds from these districts are being trained as health assistants to perform educational work. They form an interface that fosters trust and acceptance among their peers and spread the knowledge they have acquired,” he explains.

Elsa Carolina Uviedo, San Diego in Venezuela

Partner: Doctor Jaso Hospital Clowns, Valencia in Venezuela

Laughter is the best medicine – this is what the Doctor Jaso team believes. They use humor and fantasy to promote the recovery of very sick children. In this new mobile musical therapy project, the clowns work together with the Enrique Tejera Children’s Hospital, where some 120,000 young patients are treated each year. The focus is on making music together around the sick beds with drums, xylophones and songs, or on guessing noises. “Making music is a creative and highly expressive process that aids relaxation. It helps the children, who often suffer from a sense of isolation, feel better and happier,” Elsa says.

Dr. Muhammad Aslam, Karachi in Pakistan

Partner: Kutiyana Memeon Association School, Karachi in Pakistan

Doctor, auditor, engineer – many of the 7,000 or so young people in the Kutiyana Memeon schools, which are based in the poorest areas of Karachi, dream of these professions. “However, if you ask them how they will make their dreams a reality, you find blank faces staring back at you – because the youngsters don’t have the right career planning,” explains Dr. Aslam. The project trains teachers as careers advisers, who can in turn train students to be coaches. “This ensures the initiative is founded on a sustainable basis and can help many students over several years plan their careers, help themselves and contribute to society,” says Aslam.

Muhammad Khammousieh, Hama in Syria

Partner: Charity Social Care, Hama in Syria

The long years of the Syrian conflict have left many women widowed. The “Pantry” project is teaching them how to preserve food. The food and drink they produce is then sold, and the profits used to pay the course participants a small monthly salary. “There are therefore several key advantages to the project,” says Muhammad. “The women learn a valuable skill that they can use in their everyday lives and which will help them later when they come to look for work. Above all, though, they now have an income, which enables them to pay their rent and buy food for their families.”

Ravit Kolsky, Kadima Zoran in Israel

Partner: Dotan Scouting Association, Ashdod in Israel

Everyone is talking about inclusion, and Ravit’s scouting association is addressing this goal. Young people with disabilities or behavioral issues join in with all the other boys and girls to participate in the activities offered by the organization. “Children with special needs are released from their isolation and simply included in our activities. The other participants also learn the value of giving and gain social skills,” says Ravit. “What’s more, they build up relationships that are good for everyone.” The highlight of the project is a joint summer camp.

Vared Levy, Kfar Hoaranim in Israel

Partner: Chevel Modyiin Regional Council, Lapid in Israel

What may seem like garbage to some people can be treasure for others – this is the motto of Vared Levy’s second-hand shop. Twice a week, volunteers sell donated clothing, jewelry and kitchen equipment to the needy at nominal prices. All of the money raised flows directly back into the community. It finances a first-aid course for young people and the neutering of stray cats. “I think our project is useful in all kinds of ways,” says Vared. “Re-using products helps reduce environmental impact, people are able to purchase goods that they could otherwise not afford, and we support education by targeting our project at young people and the elderly.”

Ricky Stolar, Hod Hasharon in Israel

Partner: The Jerusalem Hills Therapeutic Centers, Kiryat Ye’arim in Israel

Ricky Stolar’s project provides canine therapy for 10 to 11-year-olds who have been forced to leave home prematurely because of emotional or physical abuse. 12 girls and boys with serious behavioral problems are treated using this approach in 23 individual sessions each week. The therapy subdues aggression, boosts the children’s sense of self-worth and increases their prospects for social integration. Or as Stolar puts it: “We change the course of young children’s lives in a simple, effective and creative way.”

Sue Sibley, Toronto in Canada

Partner: St. John’s Church, Toronto in Canada

Volunteers from the “Food for Life” charity visit the church once a week and hand out fresh food to the needy. The institution adopts a different approach with this concept, whereas “other organizations with similar goals generally distribute canned preserves,” Sue explains. “However, it is important that our children consume fresh food every now and again to stay healthy.” In a new project, the church workers are now teaching the needy how to prepare these foods. “They learn how to put limited resources to better use and to make nourishing meals for their families from them,” she says.