In helping a region recover from a devastating natural disaster, Freudenberg wanted to do more than just rebuild: The company wanted to make things better for the long-term. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Freudenberg’s Training Center in Nagapattinam, which helped change lives after the devastation left in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and continues to offer a brighter future.
At 9 AM local time on December 26, 2004, the Indian Plate was thrust beneath the Burma Plate off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The earth moved at a speed of 10,000 kilometers an hour for a minute and a half. The 9.1 earthquake was one of the longest and most violent ever recorded and resulted in a massive displacement of water. The ensuing tsunami claimed 250,000 lives around the entire Indian Ocean, from Thailand to Somalia. India’s Tamil Nadu was directly in the path of the wave and the coastal region of Nagapattinam was hit hardest.
The images of destruction etched themselves into the minds of people around the world and prompted a massive aid campaign. With more than 150 years of ties with the subcontinent, it was clear that Freudenberg would contribute to the relief efforts. Social responsibility has been deeply anchored in the Group’s Values and Principles since its foundation, and management knew that the sheer extent of the devastation would require long-term support. That is how the idea for the Freudenberg Training Center in Nagapattinam was born.