CSR BOOKLET Spring 2012 Edition
CEMS – THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE IN MANAGEMENT EDUCATION
By the CSR Team
Be inspired. Make a difference. Dear reader, Let us present the first issue of the CSR Booklet created by the CSR Team on behalf of the CEMS Student Board. This project was launched last term during our meeting in Milan, Italy. Our goal was to find and collect CSR activities recently done by our CEMS students. In our search we were happy to find many CEMS students who care about CSR and social activities. Thanks to them, we are able to present this compilation of CSR stories carried out during the past months within the CEMS community. We hope that you will like this booklet and that it inspires you to contribute your own exciting CSR stories to our next issue! CEMS Student Board -‐ Social Responsibility Team Miguel Pintos dos Santos – firstname.lastname@example.org Riikka Pieviläinen – email@example.com Mihaela Pisau – firstname.lastname@example.org Alexandra Levrincova – email@example.com Roser Preuss – firstname.lastname@example.org
Waffles for Eastern Asia at Copenhagen Business School On November 22nd 2011, a new and innovative fundraising event took place at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). The Humanitarian Committee of the CEMS Club Copenhagen organized a CV photo and waffle event at CBS in collaboration with the non-‐profit organization CARE Denmark. During the event, CBS students received information about the activities of the CEMS Social Partner CARE International, who was chosen for collaboration for the whole academic year 2011 – 2012. The students donated money for receiving a waffle or a professional CV picture in return. Even though the event organizers faced some challenges concerning the waffle sale, as they had to stop preparing the waffles due to new CBS security rules, they did not get discouraged and kept on raising money through taking CV pictures of CBS students. At the end of the day, the Humanitarian Committee with the support of all voluntary helpers managed to raise 713,50 Danish kroner (approx. €96) for CARE Denmark. This money will fund 45 ducks providing food and income for families in Vietnam, as well as one kitchen garden in Nepal, offering a more balanced nutrition to poor families. As a key lesson it can be mentioned that if other schools get inspired and would like to replicate this event at their university, they should thoroughly check regulations regarding food preparation on campus to avoid problems. All in all, the event was a success and we would like to thank CARE Denmark as well as all voluntary helpers for their effort!
To get in touch with the organizers contact the CBS CEMS Club at cems-‐email@example.com.
CEMS Club Warsaw
Internship Report Florianópolis, Brazil Between the 8th of August and the 23rd of September 2011 I did a development internship in Florianópolis in the South of Brazil. We organized workshops in schools to raise the kids’ cultural awareness and to awaken their desire to go abroad. Working in a team of eight trainees from six different nations and supported by four Brazilians, we could ourselves experience an extraordinary cross-‐cultural atmosphere, enabling us to carry this spirit into the classrooms. We taught English classes of all levels, the youngest being three years old. The work itself was very rewarding and a great experience. Connecting with these students from such a different culture was an amazing feeling. During the whole stay I was surrounded by welcoming, open-‐minded and inspiring young people. This fact made me come up with the idea of setting up entrepreneurial workshops. After the introduction to some important frameworks and concepts, we brainstormed for a couple of hours and came up with a variety of brilliant business ideas. The energy and creativity throughout all those sessions was amazing.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Thorsten Martin, from the University of Cologne at thorsten-‐firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout my entire ten-‐week long stay in Brazil I had a very exciting and inspiring time. Coming home from a full-‐filling job at the schools, I was able to enjoy all the nice aspects of the Brazilian culture. Going surfing with my friends, playing soccer with people who all seem to be born with a football at their feet and spending the nights in those little Samba bars. All in all this experience had a huge impact on me and my personal development. I was once more reminded of how similar we all are despite of our different cultures and backgrounds and I simply fell in love with the culture and the way of life in Brazil.
Running to Help – in Budapest
It is curious how things develop from a seed of an idea to a full-‐blown event and programme. It was during a brainstorming session in our Fall Camp that a visiting CEMSie from Portugal mentioned that at home they organize Charity Runs. The idea became very popular and so in two hours an informal working group had been formed that spent the next three hours planning Budapest’s Charity Run. The basic idea was the following: we would ask our Corporate Partners to offer a donation for each kilometer our volunteer CEMSies would run on a drizzly November morning. The Charity Run's working group therefore had three main tasks to complete: to engage Corporate Partners, to find a suitable organization to support, and to involve fellow CEMSies and Alumni to participate in the run!
Thanks to our fearless working group leader, Kinga, together with the CEMS community we had chosen the National Association for Children with Leukemia to support from the donations by Deloitte, IFUA Horváth & Partners, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble. Together we “ran” almost €1,000 worth of donations which was the necessary amount still needed for the Association to buy a new ambulance bus. We would like to thank all the CEMSies and the runners from Deloitte and IFUA who joined us on Margit-‐sziget Saturday, November 12th, and ran at least 5, if not 10 km to collect donations for the children! It was a wonderful experience to see the passion, generosity and determination that was needed from all CEMSies involved in making this little idea-‐seed become a reality that actually makes a change in people's lives.
For more information on this event, contact the CEMS Club at the Corvinus University of Hungary, through Anikó Kraft, the CEMS Budapest Journal Director at email@example.com.
Rallying for the Benefit at ESADE
What is the 4L Trophy Rally? The 4L Trophy is the biggest sports and humanitarian event for students in Europe. Everything started 15 years ago. A bunch of friends decided to drive a Renault 4L from France to Morocco, taking with them humanitarian material for the poorest. This year, over 2,400 students from all over Europe are taking part in the adventure, which means there will be 1,200 cars on the starting line! So the rally is both a race and a charitable event? Exactly. It consists of a 6,000 km race from Paris to Marrakesh going through the Atlas Mountains and the Saharan desert. In addition, each crew brings along with them humanitarian material, which can be schoolbags filled with notebooks and a complete pencil case, sports gear, wheelchairs, solar panels etc. Last year, all the crews brought 82 tons of aid material in total. Why a Renault 4L? Because it is a legendary car with a very long story. This year is its 50th anniversary. The Renault 4L is the most sold French car, with 8 million units sold and availability in over 100 countries. It’s also because it’s a very strong car, with easy mechanics and that can go basically everywhere!
How did you get your funding? We sold promotional inserts on the car and the entire project is financed by our sponsors. We offer them a cheap and original promotion tool and the opportunity to associate their name with a humanitarian cause and a sports event. Why did you decide to take part in this adventure? We are both very adventurous and we love travelling and challenging ourselves. But above all, I think we wanted to take part in something big, with a great impact, that requires a lot of commitment but that is at the same time very rewarding. Something that we could be proud of once achieved, something that we would remember our entire life. Sponsors: ESADE Business School, Arthur D. Little, Crédit Mutuel, CEMS Club Barcelona, Turismo San Ignasi, RosRoca, Empresa i Societat, Movento, Copimatge and Terra 4x4.
Curious about this initiative? Visit Pierre-‐Alain Philippi and Albert Raya Pascual’s website: cuatrolatas2012.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/cuatrolatas2012.
Supporting Microcredit at LSM This year, the CEMS Club of Louvain-‐la-‐Neuve decided to support a microcredit organization Babyloan.org, the first French website facilitating online micro-‐lending. On Babyloan.org, Internet users (such as you and me) can decide to lend the amount of money they want to micro-‐ entrepreneurs of their choice. These micro-‐ entrepreneurs, native of developing countries, are largely disadvantaged because they experience precarious conditions. They aspire to launch a small business in order to improve the living conditions of their families. By lending, and not donating, money, Babyloan.org does not promote ‘mere’ charity acts but bets on the abilities of each individual to make a living, and at the same time contribute to the local community.
As students in International Management involved in fields such as international finance and entrepreneurship, we felt directly connected to the situation of these micro entrepreneurs. Therefore, we wanted to support their dedication and willingness to work. We considered their motivation as one of the vital elements for the long-‐term development of all societies. By supporting micro loans, we believe we are making a small step towards the eradication of poverty.
To quote Muhammad Yunus, known as ‘banker of the poor’, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in microfinance, “Poverty does not belong in civilized human society. Its proper place is in a museum. That's where it will be.” In December, we finally reached our aim, namely to raise the needed funds to help three micro-‐ entrepreneurs (Nhao from Benin, Ngang from Cambodge and Juan from Equateur) to launch their respective project! Various activities such as an international dinner, a movie projection and cake auctions were organized. Our paramount event was a conference gathering famous speakers such as Arnaud Poissonnier, Babyloan.org founder, Maria Nowak, the initiator of microcredit in France and social entrepreneurs from France and Belgium.
For questions regarding this initiative, please contact the CEMS Club Louvain via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Green Roof at the LSE For the last two years, the LSE has set up a Sustainability Fund at the school that promotes sustainability endeavors across the school’s campus to raise awareness and encourage further action along the lines of environmental sustainability. For the academic year 2010/2011 two CEMS students won the annual contest to ANS 3URSRVDO utilize the fund. Olivier Scialom (host school: LSE, CEMS School: FGV, Sao Paulo) and Sidharth Gopalan (host school: LSE, CEMS School: ESADE, Barcelona) along with Stanislav Bic (LSE MiM) and Phil Newsham (Project manager from LSE’s Capital Development) successfully proposed for the LSE to install a Green Roof that can be viewed from various vantage points across the campus.
After extensively surveying the campus for potential Green Roof locations, the team have finalized on a location on a Café opposite the entrance to the main library, are in the final stages of negotiations with various vendors and hope to formally launch the Green Roof during the first week of LSE’s summer term, the week of 23rd of April. Below is a visual depiction of what the Green Roof might look like upon completion.
Design | Option One
For more details on this, contact Sidhart Gopalan at email@example.com.
Poverty Alleviation in South East Asia, and Beyond at NUS
November 3rd 2011, CEMS’s workshop on Gawad Kalinga -‐ Poverty alleviation in South East Asia was a great success. The workshop was brought to NUS as one of the CSR initiatives of its CEMS Club. The majority of the audience were European students who were highly impressed with their first interaction with philanthropy activities in Asia. Inspiring the CEMS students was Paolo Domondon, Gawad Kalinga General Manager in Singapore. Paolo is an enthusiastic young man who gave up his scholarship with John Hopkins to work full time for Gawad Kalinga. He has made an enormous contribution to the organization as well as the poverty eradication task forces in The Philippines and other countries in South East Asia. The foundation Gawad Kalinga, which means “to give care” in Filipino, was launched in 2003 as a movement focused on poverty eradication and community building. It aims to transform slums into peaceful and productive communities through values transformation and holistic programs for shelter, health, education and productivity. By engaging both the private sector and government, Gawad Kalinga has built over 2,000 communities in 400 towns in the Philippines for the poorest of the poor. Gawad Kalinga’s achievement and impact have left a great impression on the students. Roxane Jurkovskaja, a CEMS student from Copenhagen Business School, as well as her other peers expressed their interest in visiting Gawad Kalinga in the Philippines as well as introducing the NGO in their home schools.
Mr. Justin Eng, NUS CEMS Corporate Relations Director, commented that: “Success of GK in the Philippines has resulted in the proliferation of its effort and initiatives in several Asian countries. We found Gawad Kalinga and its model for success very interesting and have therefore invited Paolo Domondon to meet with CEMS and MSc (Mgt) students to share more about Gawad Kalinga and its activities”. Annie Nguyen, NUS Student Board Representative, shared that: “As CEMS students, we not only care about doing business but also about social responsibility. Our club will definitely try to bring in more activities like this to our CEMS students in the future”.
Curious about this initiative? Contact Annie Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business… not as usual at HEC Business schools teach powerful economic tools but they do not give directions regarding the goals they should be used to pursue. Aiming to broaden the scope of opportunities students consider when starting their career, a group of HEC teachers initiated the creation of the Social Business / Enterprise and Poverty Chair in 2009. Co-‐presided by Professor Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2006, and Martin Hirsch, a former member of the French government, the Chair has three complementary pillars. The Social Business Certificate is a three months academic program that attracts around 80 participants from the various HEC programs each year (including a significant proportion of CEMS students) but also participants from overseas universities and from the business world. The Certificate aims to raise students’ awareness of societal challenges and the existence of more inclusive economic models ranging from microfinance and social entrepreneurship to social business. The second pillar is research, which is essential for these topics to exist in the eyes of the academic world. Several articles have already been published and specific business cases are being taught at HEC and beyond. The uniqueness of the Chair lies in the third pillar, the “Enterprise and Poverty Action Tank”, a life-‐size laboratory where multinational companies like Danone, SFR and Essilor experiment self-‐sustainable economic models aiming at alleviating poverty in France. Several programs involving companies, NGOs and public authorities are already making essential goods and services (baby nutrition, mobile phone, optical equipment…) affordable to low-‐income families.
These experiments are a privileged field for research and allow the Certificate’s students to get hands-‐on experience. An increasing number of executives recognize that along with the economic power of their companies comes a societal responsibility. Moreover, these projects bring significant positive externalities in terms of business legitimacy, innovation, employee attraction and motivation. The mobilization of CEMS students and alumni around the participation of Professor Muhammad Yunus at the 2010 CEMS annual event illustrates the growing interest of our generation for careers with a meaning. Joining an NGO or the public sector, becoming a social entrepreneur or intrapreneur (i.e. a social business champion within one’s company) and choosing an employer involved in a social business initiative are just some of the options available to walk the talk. By considering the societal impacts of our daily business decisions, we can all, regardless of our professional activity, be part of the solution. If you wouldd like to get more insight about this initiative, contact Cécile Guillet, HEC ‘09 alumnus and Project Manager of the “Enterprise and Poverty Action Tank” at email@example.com.
Photo Contest at GSOM As a part of Humanitarian week the CEMS Club GSOM is looking forward to organize a photo contest devoted to the topics of global diversity and sustainability. Touching upon the problem of injustice and inequality, the competition will be aiming to raise awareness and engage students of GSOM on a par with their colleagues from other countries, in social activity. In our view such social activity is an important component in developing well-‐rounded future leaders, especially in Russia, which has a rich history of donators and Maecenas, who were supporting their communities. It is worth noticing that art, as it is dealing with emotions, has the power to bring bridges between different cultures. Photography as a part of artistic expression is probably one of the most influential forms of engagement as it translates close-‐to-‐reality experience to the viewer. It also gives an artist a freedom of expression. We believe that a photo tournament is the best way to engage students into thinking about challenges of the world today.
The plan with this project 5 weeks before the event is to approach corporate partners to negotiate financial support, discuss the event with the faculty of GSOM and plan the promotion of the competition. Three weeks prior to the event the CEMS Club will start promoting the event among the students and launch the registration of the event. Received context materials (i.e. photos) will be put online to enable voting by GSOM students and faculty. Two weeks before the event the club will coordinate the event with photo and media representatives. One week before the event the registration will be closed and the best photos will be printed to prepare the exhibition. On the day of the event key issues of social inequality and the reasons for organizing this event will be discussed. The club will announce the winners and hand out some memorable symbolic gifts. Free food and drinks will be offered to participants and donations will be collected for CARE International. After the event a report accompanied with photo material will appear on the GSOM website. For more on this initiative, feel free to contact the GSOM CEMS Club, through Anna Akhmedova at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunset Dinner Party at NOVA In order to start off the academic year in a good tone, the CEMS Club Lisbon has organized its first 2011/2012 event. On Tuesday, September 20th 2011, our Sunset Dinner Party took place in the beautiful gardens of the Palacete Henrique Mendonça, and it featured a traditional Portuguese barbecue. This dinner created the first opportunity to bring together the CEMS classes of 2011/2012 and 2012/2013, as well as CEMS alumni and Corporate Partners. At the same time, we couldn’t think of a better way to start our year than by raising awareness within our students for a cause which is so important to us. CEMS is not only a professional network of the best business schools but also a community of people willing to change the world we live in. Our philosophy builds on the strong belief that education is a tool for enhancing people’s opportunities, and this is why we felt urged to use the profits from this event to support ‘Schools for Africa’, a joint initiative between UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
This event did not imply a very complex or sophisticated organization, just food and beverage suppliers, a sound system to set the mood and the power of the local CEMS community! We consider this to have been a success in different areas, as besides joining different classes of CEMS students with corporate partners and creating a great networking atmosphere, we also contributed to a good cause through the donations received, which topped €220.
For more on this initiative, contact the former president of the CEMS Club in Lisbon, Henrique Marques Lopes at email@example.com.
Social Responsible Investment Project at LSE In the winter term of the 2011/ 2012 academic year, the LSE endorsed a new theme for one of its annual CEMS Business Projects. The project was done in collaboration between Thomson Reuters and a small group of CEMS students and had as objective to perform a market analysis for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data within the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) world. The experience and results were very positive with conclusions affirming that indeed the demand for ESG data was growing and so was the pressing desire to see such data more easily integrated into mainstream financial models and data provider products. The team gave suggestions to Thomson Reuters on how they could better tailor their ESG product offering to their clients.
For more information about Business Projects at the LSE, contact Dr. Alexander Pepper at A.A.Pepper@lse.ac.uk. For more information about this project, contact Cléo Biron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those readers that find themselves unfamiliar with the intricacies of SRI, they will be surprised to know that most large investment houses (both sell and buy sides) have some type of Responsible Investment team. Roles within this industry are quite vast ranging from sell-‐side research analysts, buy-‐ side corporate governance and ESG stakeholder engagement teams, sustainability consultants, data providers, SRI investment funds, Private Equity social investment firms, etc. For anyone interested in finding out more about Responsible Investing, please see: www.uksif.org, www.eurosif.org, www.asset4.com, and www.responsible-‐ investor.org
Smurfit’s CEMS Charity Goes Pink and Sweet In October 2011, the CEMS Club of UCD Michael Smurfit set out to organize a charity event. After evaluating all suggestions and ideas, the choice was made: 2011’s UCD Smurfit CEMS Club was going to follow the famous Pink Ribbon Appeal by holding a pink cupcake event. The main purpose of the Pink Ribbon Appeal is to raise awareness as well as money for breast cancer. Thus, the idea was to prepare pink cupcakes and sell them with tea or coffee to students and university staff members. In order to make it a successful event it was important to first decide on the scope of the event. Instead of holding the event on the university’s main campus, the organization team rather concentrated on the Smurfit campus, which consists of over 1,000 students and staff members. This allowed better organization due to short distances and quick communication with third contributors. Since such an event has not taken place anytime before, it was challenging to measure the final outcome.
For more information about this initiative, please contact João Gomes, the UCD CEMS Club president at email@example.com.
UCD Smurfit’s CEMS Club approximated 250 participants buying at least one cupcake with a tea or coffee. After a reasonable pricing this would have made €750 of earnings at the end of the day. The final outcome however was way above that with more than €1,200 earned. This was not only possible due to the great organization of the entire team including UCD Smurfit CEMS Club members as well as some Smurfit staff members but also by non-‐CEMS Club members helping out. The very first support was made when some CEMS students agreed to donate money in order to buy ingredients for the cupcakes. Some other students offered to prepare the cupcakes besides their workloads. The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) was also involved in order to give the event a more serious image. The ICS provided pink ribbons, pink balloons, pink posters, etc. In exchange, without any deductions, the ICS received all proceeds from the event. A post-‐event highlight was the official handover of the giant cheque from the Smurfit CEMS Club to the ICS with the attendance of Smurfit’s CEMS Club members, further CEMS students and Smurfit’s dean Pat Gibbons as well as Francois Collin, Executive Director of CEMS and Mr. Stefano Gnes, Global Corporate Relations Manager of CEMS. All in all, the CEMS Club can look back to a very successful and fun event.
Social Investment Fund Launched by Two VSE Alumni From their point of view, self-‐fulfillment, success and wealth in the "developed world" is primarily a matter of personal choices and decisions. However, this is not the case for people in the “developing world”. Under the influence of their living standards, education level and overall socio-‐economic situation, their access to life-‐enriching opportunities is very complicated. Through its social investment fund, FL Ventures seeks to provide such opportunities to those who lack them the most and help them to fulfill their dreams and plans. A new social investment fund has recently been launched by FL Ventures, a technology-‐oriented investment company established in 2009 by two CEMS alumni from Prague, Tomas Laboutka and Zdenek Fred Fous. With the vision of growing a portfolio of exceptional commercial and social ventures together with top talents, both alumni want to prove, that having a positive impact, giving back to society and improving the state of the world can be an integral part of companies of all sizes, not just large established corporations, governments and NGOs.
Currently, the company invests in microentrepreneurs in the developing world through kiva.org and is actively involved in preparing the Social Business Competition organized by SENStation and the CEMS Head Office. It will also act as coach and mentor for the top teams that will make it to the competition’s finals. The event is open to all CEMS students and friends and will enable teams to develop and implement their own social business project to tackle some of the world’s most challenging social problems. Opportunities are always plentiful. Talent, dedication and commitment are scarce. Zdenek and Tomas are very passionate about social business and are looking forward to join forces with like-‐minded people that want to make things happen together.
For more information about this initiative, please contact Zdenek, Alumni from the University of Economics, Prague, through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endangered Wildlife Conservation in South Africa, by HSG After an early ending term abroad in Stockholm, having heard and talked a lot about social responsibility as well as cross-‐cultural management, I decided to experience all this in practice, whilst contributing to the conservation of some of this planet’s rarest species and experiencing an incredibly beautiful world. Using an old contact from a trip through Botswana, I managed to get in touch with Cathy, the research head and ranger working on the conservation of endangered wildlife in South Africa’s second biggest natural reserve, the Hluhluwe-‐iMfolozi sanctuary. Being recommended as “bush-‐proofed” by my friend from Botswana, I was more than welcome to join the park’s conservation team for the upcoming month. Less than 3 weeks later, I was sitting in an airplane heading to the African continent.
For more information about his experience, please contact Fabian Schrank at email@example.com.
From the day I was collected by a field ranger at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, I was involved in the daily work of the research and conservation team, which consisted of a large variety of activities. Some of the repeating daily activities were: predator data collection (blood samples, moving patterns, etc.), computer and lab based data processing and evaluation, foot patrols in order to locate poachers and traps, work in the Zulu-‐ community trying to raise awareness for the sensitivity and value of the natural environment, and last but not least braai – which is the African word for barbecue. These activities were complemented with unique experiences such as the relocation of a pride of lions, the introduction of a black rhino into the park and many more. By spending a summer in this stunning part of our planet, I do on one hand side feel like I supported a valuable cause and a dedicated team. On the other hand side, I met incredible people and friends who brought me to places and into situations no tourist will ever experience and a safari will ever provide. This was truly the summer of a lifetime, but certainly not the last one in Africa!
SENStation: Social Entrepreneurship Platform A year ago, a group of CEMS students and alumni launched SENStation, an online platform for social entrepreneurship and positive media. SENStation, short for Social Entrepreneurship Network Station, is aiming to bring together social entrepreneurs and anyone else interested in social entrepreneurship. More broadly, it aims to inspire a broader public to see opportunity in problems and help solve them through sustainable business models. The story behind SENStation is indicative of a new and growing movement within CEMS towards a more social orientation, and is a great example of cross-‐border collaboration typical of CEMS. Developed over the past year by in total 14 people from three different disciplines (business, law and IT) living in six different countries, SENStation is a truly global effort. Building a project across borders is difficult. Beyond the cross-‐cultural issues we have all learned to recognize in CEMS, SENStation has another problem to deal with: being developed by a digital team, its office is based on Skype, and the team members rarely see each other. However, the collaboration is going well, and the team members agree that being a CEMS student has been a perfect preparation for a project like this.
When it comes to the partnership with CEMS, the team's most important goal is to inspire students to look beyond the traditional graduate programs and to realize that CEMS is also a perfect preparation for becoming active in social entrepreneurship. In order to help achieve this goal, SENStation is organizing the first ever CEMS Social Business Competition this semester, sponsored by CEMS Head Office, the Student Board and SENS Fund. In the competition, teams of students are invited to submit their ideas for social business and to develop these into a real business plan over the semester, with help from the SENStation community and a venture capital firm.
For more information on SENStation and its Social Business Competition, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping the Helpless, at RSM “Half a day spent baking, cooking and gardening as part of a truly social business. I was reminded that putting a smile on other people’s faces is much nobler than anything else...” This is how Mircea, one of the participants of our community project, described the experience we had when leaving from Borderj de Kapel – a centre for people with disabilities. This semester we decided that our students should experience a different side of humanitarian projects by literally spending time with people in need. Finally, our group of seven people went to Borderj de Kapel, a centre for people with disabilities, situated in Rotterdam. It was a lovely place with a very welcoming interior and amazing people. The big majority of the staff working there were people with disabilities. All of them had different responsibilities. We were helping them (or they were helping us by showing us the right way to do things) to bake various cookies. In a different room other students were cooking with them to prepare the lunch for their clients. We also managed to do a bit of gardening. During all this time we managed to take several pictures together, to make some jokes, play chess, and of course fill our stomachs with plenty of delicious cookies.
The most surprising thing was the way we communicated: since we didn’t know Dutch, we communicated through signs, smiles, gestures, laughs and eye contact. It was definitely an unforgettable experience that reminded us again of the importance of doing even the small things with great love. We came back again just before Christmas with a gift: a huge picture frame where we put all the pictures taken together the other day and a wall clock for their kitchen. This experience was something unique for them and for us too – we were reminded again that it’s not about only the big things – it is the kindness that lies in the smallest of things done with great love that truly makes a difference.
For more information on this initiative, please contact Irina Chitic, former President of the Humanitarian Committee at the RSM CEMS Club at email@example.com.
AALTO Natalia Velikodnaya CBS
EAESP Eduardo Caimbro EGADE Jose Cruz ESADE Ludovic Manjot GSOM Evgenia Popova HEC