The FINANCIAL — Deutsche Post DHL Group is joining forces with established corporate responsibility partners to respond to the refugee crisis in Germany. It will be unveiling its large-scale initiative today in Berlin. The nationwide effort, which will be coordinated locally, draws on the expertise of the Group’s partner organizations and is set-up to respond to the immediate needs of the refugees. The company’s efforts are part of a long-term commitment to support relief organizations across Germany.
“As a company with a strong presence both in Germany and throughout the world, we want to contribute to the integration of refugees jointly with our partners. In doing this, we also continue to support a long-established tradition of volunteering among our employees in cooperation with non-profit organizations”, says Frank Appel, Chairman of the Board of Management at Deutsche Post DHL Group.
The company will allocate €1 million in funding in the first year for programs designed to support the integration process; these programs will focus primarily on language acquisition and the provision of vocational support. Deutsche Post DHL Group will be collaborating with well-established partners such as Aktion Deutschland Hilft, an alliance of German relief organizations, SOS Children’s Villages, Stiftung Lesen and Teach First Deutschland, according to DHL.
As one of the world’s biggest employers, the Group plans to offer up to 1,000 internships, which could later lead to future traineeships and employment in Germany. Approximately 100 dedicated coordinators in Deutsche Post branch offices across Germany will work closely with partner organizations to manage the refugee aid efforts locally. The Group will also be inviting some 10,000 employee volunteers to provide local-level support to these projects, drawing on the long-standing success of its Corporate Volunteering program. Last year, around 108,000 employees around the world – 38,000 in Germany alone – got involved in volunteer projects in their communities. The company also plans to initiate negotiations with federal and state officials regarding the use of up to 100,000 m2 in real estate for refugee housing. In addition, it will offer manpower to support in administrative tasks related to the aid effort.
Individual areas of expertise
Each of the Group’s partner organizations will contribute to the initiative with its own individual area of expertise:
Aktion Deutschland Hilft, an alliance of relief organizations, offers coordinated relief assistance. The Group will support the partners of Aktion Deutschland Hilft to be able to respond to the needs of the refugees, including organizational tasks.
“Our members across Germany are providing initial support services to refugees. Equally important, and both a duty as well as an opportunity for us as a society, is their integration. It is one of the most important tasks for aid organizations,” explains Bernd Pastors, head of Aktion Deutschland Hilft. “This joint initiative is making a huge contribution to the integration effort.”
The German reading foundation Stiftung Lesen, which promotes integration through education, reading and language acquisition, will train Deutsche Post employees as “reading buddies”.
“Refugees who come to Germany need our help,” says Dr. Jörg F. Maas, managing director at Stiftung Lesen. “Stiftung Lesen does its part by helping these people – especially families and children – to learn German and feel at home in our culture as quickly as possible. And reading is how we do this – by reading to them and with them.”
We will work together with SOS Children’s Villages Germany and Teach First Deutschland to prepare our employees to serve as “integration guides” for refugees. Both of these organizations are longstanding partners of DPDHL Group in our efforts to improve educational opportunity and employability for disadvantaged young people.
“SOS Children’s Villages e.V. was founded 60 years ago in order to give a home to homeless children. Today, it is young people who had to leave their home country unguarded that need our help. Due to the support in matters of education, they will have a chance for a future,” explains Prof. Dr. Johannes Münder, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages e.V.
“In the end, it will be our schools that provide the litmus test for how well Germany rises to meet the challenge of integrating refugees and providing them with prospects for the future,” says Ulf Matysiak, managing director of Teach First Deutschland. “It’s a challenge faced by our society as a whole, a challenge to be shouldered by many.”