Weinheim, October 28, 2015. Achmed is smiling from ear to ear: on his feet are a brand new pair of football boots. "Training with the A youth group at DSC Hanseat can now get going", says Stefan Gräßlin, who is employed by Freudenberg subsidiary Chem-Trend. He makes no attempt to hide his pleasure either. Gräßlin has volunteered to help out with adolescent refugees in the Dulsberg district of Hamburg, Germany. The majority of them are orphans. "To help them integrate, we have involved ourselves in getting these youngsters playing with the local football clubs", Gräßlin explained. The funds to buy the boots and other kit were provided by his employer, Freudenberg.
"For us, success never means merely financial success, but also always accepting our social responsibility as a company", said Dr. Mohsen Sohi, CEO of the Freudenberg Group. The Dulsberg project is one of many that the company is currently promoting. "We prefer to support initiatives at our sites, where our employees have a personal connection – we are proud of the commitment of each individual", said Sohi.
Freudenberg has appealed to all employees, retired former employees and shareholders to participate in a worldwide fundraising campaign. To date, over 278,000 Euros have been donated, a sum that the company has tripled. In addition, Freudenberg will make one million Euros available to support the integration of refugees in the coming years. The Freudenberg Foundation, which has been dedicated to social projects for decades, has been instructed by the company to earmark a further 500,000 Euros.
"One of the first projects in Europe to be enabled by the donations of Freudenberg employees concerns the "Pilgerhaus" social and welfare facility in Weinheim, and thus directly benefits young refugees", explained donations committee member Dr. Makoto Makabe, Director of Corporate Training at Freudenberg & Co. In the Rhine-Neckar region the Pilgerhaus has offered housing to 100 young people who left their homes without an adult companion. "Refugees and young people from Germany live with us under one roof. Here, everyone should feel equally welcome, respected and valued", said Uwe Gerbich-Demmer, head of the Pilgerhaus.
Settling down and feeling at home in a foreign country requires more than just somewhere to live. Understanding and speaking the language, as well as getting to know the different cultural events and peculiarities, are all particularly important. This is precisely where the Freudenberg-funded initiatives come into play. Projects such as "Without Dictionaries" add a playful dimension to language learning, while skilled professionals provide individual tuition. In addition, Freudenberg IT has presented the youngsters with three table football tables. After all, the best way to get to know each other is by having fun together.
In Kufstein, Austria, near the Freudenberg Sealing Technologies factory, 30 unaccompanied young people from Syria, Afghanistan and other crisis areas will be given a temporary home from the beginning of November. As a first step, the company has made 10,000 Euros available to provide computers for the refugee home. This move was inspired by the conviction that education is an important key to the integration of young people. Freudenberg colleagues will be offering computer and language courses on a voluntary basis. In early 2016, a further 15,000 Euros will be donated to fund additional teaching aids.
About the Freudenberg Group
Freudenberg is a global technology group that strengthens its customers and society long-term through forward-looking innovations. Together with its partners, customers and the world of science, the Freudenberg Group develops leading-edge technologies, and excellent products, solutions and services for more than 30 market segments and for thousands of applications: seals, vibration control components, nonwovens, filters, specialty chemicals, medical and mechatronic products, IT services and the most modern cleaning products.
Innovation strength, strong customer orientation, diversity and team spirit are the cornerstones of our Group. Commitment to excellence, reliability and pro-active, responsible action belong to the company's core values lived for more than 165 years.
In 2014, the Freudenberg Group employed over 40,000 people in some 60 countries worldwide and generated sales of more than 7 billion Euros (including pro-rata consolidation of 50:50 joint ventures). For more information, please visit www.freudenberg.com