On 10th June 2016, 30 employees of Sika Services AG, Team EPQS (Engineering, Procurement, Quality and Sustainability), were excited to hold a “Corporate Volunteering Day” for the second time. As previously in 2015, the Philias Foundation was instrumental in ensuring that four different organisations could be supported on site. The range of supported projects stretched from environmental protection through social commitment to collaboration with a foundation looking after people with different perspectives on life. In 2016 the company carried out the following projects.

Excursion with residents of the Rebwies retirement home
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Excursion with residents of the Rebwies retirement

Sika employees spent a day in Zollikon with 15 female residents and one male resident of the Rebwies retirement home. Six Sika employees each looked after 2 female seniors or 1 male senior during the trip to a local recreational area close to Zurich. The Sika employees and the elderly people had a lot of fun together and enjoyed the unspoilt nature. During a rest on a bench in the fields the ladies then also told stories from their lives, in part of other times. In the afternoon they then went back, the seniors thanked the employees profusely for the nice day, and in the coming weeks they will be able to continue enjoying the souvenir photos in the day room.  

A day with people with visual impairment
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A day with people with visual impairment

A group spent a day with people who had various visual impairments, specifically in the education and meeting centre of the Swiss Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Schweizerischer Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband - SBV) in Dietikon. Sika employees discovered first hand how to use a guide dog to get around, or how to find your way around with a cane and other aids, such as apps on your phone. During lunch there were some fascinating conversations about life with a visual impairment. A city tour especially for visually impaired people was held in Zurich for 9 visually impaired or blind people, as well as the Sika colleagues and 3 accompanying persons from SBV. It was striking to learn how these people get around with their disability and learn to navigate their environment without being able to see.

A working day in the Zurich Foundation for Relief for Prisoners and Newly Released Ex-Offenders
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A working day in the Zurich Foundation for Relief for Prisoners and Newly Released Ex-Offenders

There is an institution in Zurich where people with criminal sentences have the opportunity to settle their fine in the form of charity work. There, Sika employees had the opportunity to spend a working day as volunteers at ZSGE.

After a presentation from the foundation by the operations manager, one group went to Electro-recycling, the other to “Workshop 4”, where decorative objects are made from waste products. Most of the workers are assigned by the law enforcement agency. There are also people who settle fines through work days. They can freely choose within a certain scope on what days they would like to work. This forces those responsible to plan flexibly.  

A principle of the foundation is to offer people - regardless of the sentence or the reason for it - a work environment and a regulated daily routine. The outing made it possible to get an insight into the open penal system.

Environmental operation in a BirdLife Nature Centre
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Environmental operation in a BirdLife Nature Centre

Once again a group has set out to perform an environmental operation in the Neeracherried BirdLife Nature Centre (BirdLife-Naturzentrum Neeracherried). The aim of the BirdLife Schweiz association is to preserve biodiversity in Switzerland.  The protected area also includes the “Neeracherried” low-moor bog, where non-native invasive plants are forcing out native plants. This is also resulting in a decline in the biodiversity among the bird populations. Therefore the task entailed in turn removing the two non-native plants, the Japanese knotweed and the goldenrod, from the nature reserve.

Equipped with Wellington boots and gloves, the group set off to the first area of operations. Two hours and a lunch break later, the group went to the reeds area in the middle of the moor. Once more after 2 hours they went back to the nature centre, where a tour for the Sika team had also been organised.