While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities in access to education and digital technology and the impacts of climate change, it has also sparked greater solidarity with those who have been directly and indirectly affected by the health crisis, such as health workers, young people who have dropped out of school and seniors left behind by new technology. Throughout 2020, Thales accompanied this surge in generosity through the efforts of its Thales Solidarity programme.
In March, Thales Solidarity gave employees in France the opportunity to volunteer for one of ten community engagement initiatives to respond to urgent, targeted needs, such as supporting health workers, assisting the most vulnerable, providing remote tutoring and helping teachers use digital technology.
At the same time, Thales Solidarity modified its payroll giving programme¹, which launched in 2016 in France, to respond to the health crisis by adding two new beneficiaries: the Public Hospitals of Paris research foundation and the Secours Populaire COVID-19 emergency fund for those in need.
When the health crisis slowed in Europe in July, Thales Solidarity was able to launch its volunteering programme to allow employees to make longer-term commitments, by sponsoring or mentoring students in priority neighbourhoods, helping to train job-seekers, providing technological expertise to charities, or familiarising seniors with digital technology. Over 100 employees have already volunteered their time and skills to charities and those in need.
Eleven new projects in eight different countries
In September, as planned, Thales Solidarity selected and funded 11 projects proposed by Group employees to benefit more than 2,600 children and adults in Asia (Cambodia), Africa (Benin and Senegal), Central America (Ecuador and Haiti) and Europe (Spain, France and Italy). Click here for more details.
Thales Solidarity also selected and supported three new social innovation projects in France to help job-seekers, young drop-outs and charities to develop their skills and capacities.
- Défi Insertion helps provide digital opportunities to reintegrated workers
- Agir Pour la Jeunesse fights academic inequalities by supporting educational activities in social centres in Mérignac, France, near Bordeaux
- Tech for Good Enthusiasts develops engagement tools to help charities use technology.
In December, employees once again displayed their generosity with over 300 new donors and volunteers participating in Giving Tuesday.
A number of projects, particularly in education and youth integration into the workforce, are already under way in several countries. In Brazil, for example, 45 Thales volunteers are leading the Formare vocational training programme for disadvantaged youth in the Sao Paulo area. In the US, the Group is supporting the Technovation Challenge programme, an international competition aimed at developing innovation and leadership skills in girls ages 10 to 18. In the UK, Thales quickly responded to health restrictions by providing online support to partner schools, giving over 1,100 students access to interviews and online videos about scientific endeavours. And during the last three months of the year, the Group replaced its popular site visits with three virtual Insight Events, which allowed students across the country to work with Thales for one day and learn more about possible career opportunities.
Despite this year's challenging context, these actions and others showed that now more than ever, Thales believes in solidarity and sharing innovation.
• Education and professional integration
• Digital citizenship
• Environmental protection.
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