02.03.2017. The employees of the Friedhelm Loh Group were well aware that Christmas could be a particularly difficult time for many people in the region and across the globe. At the end of last year, they therefore once again made a joint donation to help those in need. This was doubled by owner and CEO Dr Friedhelm Loh, and the impressive sum of €180,000 has now been handed out to both regional and international institutions.
The annual donation of the Friedhelm Loh Group is intended to help and encourage recipients. Each year, the family-run company’s employees donate jointly to social institutions located in the region and around the company’s sites. With Dr Loh doubling the amount raised, the donation at the end of 2016 amounted to €180,000. This money has now been handed out to social institutions in the regions of Central Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony. A further donation is going to the German disaster relief organisation Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe for its campaign to help Nigerian refugees in Chad. The owner and CEO of the Friedhelm Loh Group is proud of his team. “It’s encouraging to see we’re a strong community that is prepared to set an example and make sacrifices in order to give people in need a chance,” he says.
Part of the donation went to the children’s home in Burbach, which has been looking after disabled children, youths and young adults for over ten years. They live together in Haus Burgweg with the help of support staff and therapists. As Friedhelm Jung knows in his role as Chairman of Förderverein Kinderzuhause Burbach, “The quality of life that many people experience and enjoy isn’t a given. Our residents are dependent on care, assistance and support, but that doesn’t stop Haus Burgweg from being a happy and colourful place.” The numerous activities that are constantly providing residents with a boost and giving them back some quality of life are a prime example of this. They include music therapy sessions, expressive painting and also speech, occupational and riding therapy. “The happy faces of residents following a therapy session funded by donations are something money can’t buy,” stresses Jung.
The Evangelische Integrative Kindertagesstätte, a day-care facility in Monheim am Rhein, above all champions inclusion and the courage to be tolerant. Disabled and able-bodied children learn and play here on equal terms and in a spirit of cooperation. Whether expressed through music/rhythm and words or in the facility’s daily rituals, the aspect of community is always at the forefront. “Trust, appreciation, care and tolerance are the basic values of our Christian way of life. That means they also shape the everyday activities with our children,” explains Jeannette Kliewer, who runs the facility on Schellingstrasse. “The aim is for children to get a feel for these values in the time they spend together each day, embrace them together and also set an example to the outside world,” she adds.
The international focus of the Friedhelm Loh Group’s donation this year is on Chad. In addition to being one of the world’s poorest regions, it has accepted over 500,000 refugees from the neighbouring countries of Nigeria, Sudan and the Central African Republic over the past 15 years. Hardly a week passes without the terrorist group Boko Haram committing new acts of violence in these countries. Its attacks have so far killed thousands and it is also holding thousands of women and children captive. “People make repeated attempts to cross Lake Chad and reach safety,” says Kai M. Henning, Officer for Africa at Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, which has now been given a share of the Friedhelm Loh Group’s donation. “Due to the poor overall situation in this country, the position of refugees and internally displaced persons in Chad is particularly critical and rates as a forgotten crisis,” he adds. The organisation has had a local presence for a number of years, although the situation is also becoming increasingly dangerous for humanitarian aid workers. They supply people with food, other essentials and production resources to restore their means of existence. Self-help also forms part of the programme. Regular local technical training sessions are offered to provide those affected with help and support in developing income-generating activities.
Since Rittal was founded 55 years ago, staff from the company – and now the entire Friedhelm Loh Group – have made an annual donation for good causes. “We have a responsibility towards the environment we’re living and working in. That also includes having the courage to look further afield and provide help where it’s most needed,” says Dr Loh.
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Image 1: The association Kinderzuhause Burbach looks after disabled children, youths and young adults. Activities are varied and colourful, ranging from expressive painting to joint excursions and summer camps.
Image 2: The Evangelische Integrative Kindertagesstätte is a day-care facility that champions inclusion and the courage to be tolerant. Its aim is for children to get a feel for these values and embrace them jointly.
Image 3: Disaster relief organisation Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe works with local partners to do more than simply provide emergency supplies to the refugees in Chad. It also offers training to show people possible ways of using their harvest so they can stand on their own feet in the longer term.
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