Swiss International Air Lines and SOS Children’s Villages have been close and genuine partners for 15 years now. The generosity of SWISS’s passengers and personnel helps give families and children in India a better and brighter future.
Ask Harsh what his dream job would be and he has a clear reply: He wants to help people, and give something back. Harsh would like to become a radiologist in Delhi; and if everything goes well, this 15-year-old should be studying at university a few
years from now. Harsh is an orphan. Like all the youngsters at the SOS Children’s Village in Bawana, near Delhi, hardly anyone knows what kind of past he brought with him into the institution’s care. What we do know, though, is that all these young residents are being given a lot of love, warmth and future prospects in their new home.
SOS Children’s Villages helps youngsters and families in need in more than 130 countries. Its work is funded by donations. And, for 15 years now, those donors have included countless SWISS passengers. The company invites its in-flight guests to give any loose change they no longer need in whatever currency they may have. It’s a request that has raised more than 2.5 million Swiss francs over that 15-year period. And for the past five years the funds raised from SWISS passengers have been channelled to the SOS Children’s Village Bawana.
“Our relationship with SWISS is very important to us,” says Nicole Wollner, a member of the Executive Board of SOS Children’s Villages Switzerland. “We are united in our objectives. The funds SWISS has raised have been used, for instance, to totally refurbish the SOS Children’s Village in Bawana.”
Wollner is equally moved by the commitment of SWISS’s personnel: On a recent visit to SOS Children’s Villages in India they presented over 40 bicycles for the youngsters’ use. “The kids were so delighted!” she reports. The May trip was made to show SWISS the direct impact its support is having, and saw a joint delegation from the company and SOS Children’s Villages Switzerland fly out to Delhi to visit the villages in Bawana and nearby Faridabad and learn more about the various local projects, such as the Family Strengthening Programme.
The trip made quite an impact on Christoph Ulrich, SWISS’s Head of Human Resources. “We really value our partnership with SOS Children’s Villages,” he explains. “We’re very proud that the generosity of our passengers can help so many people. And the amazing results we saw in India are a huge incentive to us to continue working on our collaboration.”
“What especially impressed me,” Ulrich adds, “were the women of the Family Strengthening Programme at the Bawana village, whom our support has provided with truly effective tools to give themselves a living. It’s phenomenal what the people are doing there. And it was so inspiring to see what a difference this project is making.” Which is all thanks to you – our passengers – too!
Text: Anna Miller / Photos: Remo Nägeli