Sustainability Report 2015DEEN
 

EFFECTIVE HELP

FOR PEOPLE IN NEED

The Evonik Foundation and Evonik Industries jointly support refugee projects in the towns where the Group operates. Here they provide unbureaucratic assistance and offer long-term opportunities.

Day after day, thousands of refugees from crisis regions are leaving behind them everything they have and seeking a better future in countries such as Germany. According to the UN Refugee Aid Organization, more refugees are on the move today than at any time after World War II. By the summer of 2015, it was clear that Germany’s cities and municipalities will be taking in and integrating hundreds of thousands of refugees. At about the same time, Evonik decided to actively support these efforts with donations in kind, funding, and personal commitment.

In a multitude of emergency shelters the local authorities, supported by many volunteers and donations from the public, are providing refugees with the basic necessities: a roof over their heads, showers, clothing, and hot meals. Evonik, as a major employer and an important factor in local economies, is supporting many of these measures. In September 2015, Evonik made €1 million available to the Evonik Foundation to be used as emergency funding for refugees. The money is mainly being used to offer training, jobs, and language courses and to run long-term projects for refugees in the places where Evonik operates and the surrounding regions. Just over 90 projects will reach more than 10,000 people.

The refugees who are now coming to Germany and have good prospects for becoming residents constitute a tremendous opportunity for our society, our economy, and the labor market. In order to take advantage of this potential, we first need to make investments in language classes and qualification and training courses.Klaus Engel

Chairman of the Executive Board, Evonik Industries AG

But providing the refugees with basic necessities and initial services is far from enough. The Evonik Foundation considers it important to provide more extensive help, support integration, and create opportunities that reach further into the future. It therefore supports projects that facilitate the integration of the refugees into their new surroundings—projects focusing on language instruction, schooling, and professional training. That’s because many of the refugees want to stay in Germany and will stay there, building a new life in peace and security.

At the adult education center in Wesseling, a secondary school in Haltern, the job center in Krefeld, the “language Cafe” in Dossenheim, and in many other places, the Evonik Foundation is therefore financing large and small projects so that children, teenagers, and adults can learn German as quickly as possible. In Herne, a special educational concept is helping refugee children learn the language faster. In Worms, the Evonik Foundation is helping to finance an independent-learning center that aims to reach all of the refugees that can’t be accommodated in the existing classes and courses. And the Evonik Foundation is cooperating with Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) to establish 11 scholarships specially created for refugees. The program is designed for young men and women who started to study engineering, science, and economics in their homelands and enables them to continue their studies at RUB. It also supports young people who want to start studying these subjects at RUB.

For the refugees, integration also means regaining some of the elements of normal life. The Evonik Foundation, together with Evonik, is helping children and teenagers in this area especially—for example, by enabling ist employees to organize trips and equip playgrounds and relaxation rooms. In addition, the foundation is helping to equip bicycle workshops in Worms, Marl, and Rheinfelden where refugees can put used bicycles into working order for themselves and their families.

For many refugees, the first few months in Germany consist mainly of endless waiting. In these workshops, they can do useful work and talk to other refugees and their German helpers. They are also gaining a small piece of valuable independence for their and their families’ future lives in their new homeland.

“Starting Your Career” is a joint initiative of the employers and employees of the chemical industry that helps unemployed young people gain the qualifications for a traineeship. Evonik is a longtime partner in this initiative. In 2015, with financial support from the Evonik Foundation, it increased the number of people it funds so that young refugees can also be prepared for traineeships in German industry. The first participants started courses in Marl in November 2015.