The principle of care and caring, which underlies L&R’s claim People.Health.Care., does not just extend to caring for employees, customers, users and indirectly for patients. That is, to L&R, this principle also includes the willingness to take social responsibility, with respect to which L&R staff worldwide are to be encouraged and supported.
The corporate social sponsoring programme, “L&R charity – we connect”, which was set up in September 2015, is an important element of this endeavor. As a company who is dedicated to the values of a family-run company, supporting projects that bring together different generations is of special importance to L&R – which is also why this is the key criterion for our CSS projects. Amongst others, CSS projects, which are supervised by a L&R staff member, should also relate to the industry L&R operates in or L&R’s products, and should take no more than a year to complete. L&R generally prefers projects called into life by a project promoter and that can subsequently be continued without L&R’s support or that will continue to have a sustained effect beyond the period of funding provided by L&R. To give you an idea of the kind of projects this includes, we have selected just two to describe in more detail.
The first of these goes back to 2016 and was based on the idea to bring together pupils from the Elisabethstift school in Berlin and residents of the neighboring nursing home by means of arts and music afternoons. The project promoter, Eva Ebert (formerly L&R Germany, Regional Head of Sales CNP), took care of purchasing musical instruments, arts and craft materials, and of organising the project in collaboration with the school’s management and teachers. The subsequent sessions during which pupils and residents met and spent time together became very popular with both the younger and older generation and quickly made the project develop its own dynamics. That is, the pupils started practicing pieces of music and songs to perform at the nursing home and made small gifts for the older ladies and gentlemen during a joint arts and craft session attended by both young and old. The nursing home residents, in turn, started taking an active part in the school’s everyday life and have since become popular guests at events such as the school’s summer fete and Christmas party. The joint music and art sessions have now become an integral part of the school’s timetable and the pupils and nursing home residents have very much bonded, with the older generation often taking the role of mentors or even friends. The L&R project promoter for this project has been more than pleased with the outcome of this project. “The sessions have given the children an opportunity to talk, be listened to and to sing, and the older people seem to really enjoy and look forward to every new performance or concert. The arts and craft sessions have brought a lot of colour into the nursing home and created a positive atmosphere.”
However, L&R doesn’t just want to support projects right in front of its own door, but also contribute to healthcare improvement in more remote parts of the world. This brings us to our second example project, which took place in a small village called Sani, located at an elevation of 4,000 metres above sea level in the Indian Himalayas, and was made possible through intensive international exchange. As part of this project, the project promoter, Martin Pohl (L&R Germany, GPM Wound Management), and L&R supported the former L&R employee Stephan Mettler and Heimbach-Weis branch of the German St. Georg Girl Scouts, who developed the idea for the project in collaboration with the Sani Zanskar Foundation e. V. and doctors from Aachen University Hospital, who have already been working in Sani on a voluntary basis for many years now.
In 2007, the foundation and volunteer doctors built an energy self-sufficient community centre in Sani, which had since become the hub of the village’s life. It subsequently not only became the place where everyone now meets, but also where European and Indian doctors have been working side by side to provide medical care to the people in Sani, which is a two-day drive from the nearest town. However, the community centre fulfils yet another important role by acting as the region’s winter school. Before the centre was built, school lessons, which are taught outdoors over the summer, had to be suspended over the winter months. The long periods without tuition made it extremely difficult for the region’s children and adolescents to achieve higher levels of education or those required to enter university later on.
And this is the point where L&R entered the picture. Due to the severe weather conditions in the region where temperatures often drop to minus 40 degrees in the winter, the nearly 10-year old community centre was now in desperate need of renovation – and it was this renovation that the group funded by L&R was dedicated to. Following one and a half years of preparation and planning, the group finally set off for Sani in July and August 2017. However, this didn’t just involve organising two days of transport to the remote village of Sani for the group members, but also for the materials required for the renovation work to be transported over the Khardung La, one of the highest vehicle-accessible mountain passes in the world. The renovation work was successfully completed in collaboration with the entire village, thanks to which the volunteer doctors and the village’s winter school will continue to have a safe home and place to work from again for years to come. In addition to renovating the village’s community centre, the volunteer group also provided the village with yet another bonus – a volleyball court, surrounded by towering peaks and the place where the volunteers and village youngsters met for an opening match during which the former were badly beaten. By way of a parting gift, the Scouts became the official patrons of the school in Sani and will consequently continue to support and invest in the young people in this part of the Himalayas in future.