ABBnormal days for a good cause

2013-01-04 - ABB Czech Republic has been supporting non-profit organisations in the long term to enable their clients to overcome barriers and to achieve demanding goals. Our employees can actively participate by volunteering for various events that take place throughout the year at many ABB locations in Czech republic.

All the employees have an opportunity to use one working day every year for corporate volunteering to help physically or mentally disabled people, young people from children’s homes or talented students. A total of 8 events take place every year, in which almost 100 employees and around 150 clients take part.

All volunteering events on offer are based on the actual needs of non-profit organisations. We always ask our non-profit partners at the beginning of the year what our employees could do for them throughout the year. This has led to the creation of a list of diverse ABBnormal days, and the employees can choose from them according to their interests and possibilities.

Days spent with mentally disabled people are most popular among the employees. At these events the employees are surprised to find that these people live a life similar to theirs. They have families and friends, they go to work, they do sports, they have interesting hobbies and they like tackling demanding tasks.

Since 2010, when the corporate volunteering programme started, we have already had three meetings with mentally disabled people at every larger location. During our first meetings we practised sports together, in the next ones we tried to progress to some meaningful work.

So the events have a double added value – two worlds come closer to one another and, at the same time, it is clearly visible that mentally disabled people can be beneficial to society.

What did the ABBnormal days look like in 2012?

Skiing courses for wheelchair users
Employees took part in skiing training courses for physically disabled children and adults, who use a special compensatory aid called “monoski” for skiing. The volunteers’ task was to help the course participants in transferring from the wheelchairs, getting off the ski lift or tackling the ski slope.

Adventurous assistance to wheelchair users
Employees assisted wheelchair users during an all-night game. Wheelchair competitors accompanied by their assistants had to complete a long route through the town, which was gradually revealed to them after solving individual clues. The event always starts on Friday evening and ends in the early hours of Saturday.

Manual voluntary work at Brno ZOO
Employees together with mentally disabled people made the ZOO grounds more beautiful: they planted new flowers, painted the fence and tidied the children’s playgrounds. We interrupted our all-day voluntary work to have lunch together at the local restaurant and concluded it with a lecture on animal’s life in the ZOO.

Excursion to a sheltered workshop
Employees visited a sheltered workshop that made 12,000 New Year’s cards for ABB CZ last year. The employees worked together with mentally disabled people during the excursion. They helped them with tasks that require great accuracy or dexterity and so are challenging for disabled people.

Preparation of a Fairytale Forest
Employees together with mentally disabled people helped to prepare a Fairytale Forest. This is a traditional event in the region, in which nearly 500 children took part this year. The preparations include the making of fairytale scenes and creatures, which children then come across in the forest.

Special sports decathlon
Employees prepared an afternoon filled with sporting activities and excitement for disabled children. They assisted at individual posts, they recorded points but, in particular, they encouraged and supported all the sportspeople. The event also included a popular climbing wall or fire engines.

Job interview training
Employees conducted job interview training for young people who leave children’s homes to start living on their own. Thanks to the support of personnel managers from ABB, five participants from three establishments were able to try out how a job interview takes place in practice.

Evaluation of a student contest
Employees were members of a committee evaluating a contest of student scientific and technical projects. The contest is organised for secondary-school students by AVAMET (Association for Youth, Science and Technology).
Summary of volunteering program 2012