The WACKER relief fund (WACKER HILFSFONDS) is dedicated to providing unbureaucratic, long-term aid, especially in the wake of natural disasters. The fund’s board members and trustees work on a voluntary basis. So far, Wacker Chemie AG has matched all employee contributions to the fund.
The WACKER relief fund story began when a catastrophic tsunami hit Sri Lanka in December 2004 and devastated the lives of people in affected areas. Thousands lost their lives or livelihoods. WACKER promptly donated to aid projects and founded its relief fund. A nonprofit foundation, the fund has been true to its motto of “Helping people to help themselves” ever since, giving victims of natural disasters the chance of a better life.
The relief fund uses its cent-donation program to finance ongoing operations at the schools it sponsors. The roughly 4,800 employees who participated in the program in 2020 consented to having their monthly salary rounded down to the nearest euro – the cents collected in this way are then donated to the fund. On average, the participating employees donate 50 cents per month; this amount is then matched by the company.
Kosgoda, Sri Lanka
One project that the relief fund has supported since its foundation in 2005 is the WACKER College in Kosgoda, Sri Lanka. Over 650 students have since graduated from this college, which teaches classes from first grade to eleventh grade. The coronavirus is impacting schools and the lives of families in Sri Lanka, too. Thanks to masks, safe distancing and consistent discipline, the WACKER College is able to continue to teach its students. When in-person lessons cannot take place due to the pandemic, the students receive class material in paper form, as many families do not have electricity, computers or telephones.
The fund supports the student-run charitable organization Namaste Nepal S-GmbH based in Freiberg, eastern Germany. Since 2005, this charity has worked with a Nepalese aid organization on the reconstruction and operation of schools and kindergartens in Nepal’s Sindhupalchok province. In the village of Gati, for example, where there is no technical infrastructure, teachers went from house to house to help their students learn while schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, WACKER’s relief fund supported the reconstruction of the school in Gressier, and has been sponsoring ongoing school operations, including meals, since 2011. Some 800 students attend the school center, which consists of a kindergarten, elementary school and high school. The children in Gressier faced poverty and hunger during school closures as a result of the pandemic. Masks and hygiene kits were among the things that the school’s principal handed out.
WACKER HELP in China
Our WACKER Greater China subsidiary founded the charitable foundation WACKER HELP in 2005. It provides long-term support for the Fujia village WACKER Primary School (in the province of Sichuan), which was destroyed by a severe earthquake in 2008. The employee donations also cover the costs of a hot lunch for the children every day. WACKER HELP runs a scholarship program that promotes socially disadvantaged students until they obtain their school-leaving certificate.