Transformar milhas de viagens em benefícios para projetos sociais de educação. Essa é a proposta do Milhas do bem, lançado pela Smiles este mês para estimular o voluntariado entre seus funcionários e a doação de milhas entre seus clientes. O objetivo do projeto é apoiar instituições parceiras que trabalham com educação de crianças e jovens e que atuam com projetos que vão desde capacitação para o trabalho até educação através do esporte. Entrevistamos o CEO da Smiles, Leonel Andrade, sobre o projeto.

Evento de lançamento do Milhas do Bem, com todas as instituições parceiras. Foto Denise Andrade
Evento de lançamento do Milhas do Bem, com todas as instituições parceiras. Foto Denise Andrade

Como surgiu o projeto de responsabilidade social e voluntariado da Smiles?

Com foco na missão da empresa de “transformar milhas em sorrisos”, percebemos que poderíamos ajudar a preparar as novas gerações para atuarem no desenvolvimento humano e social e diminuir as desigualdades, proporcionando a crianças e jovens em situação de risco, educação e alternativas de futuro, para que possam exercer sua cidadania e se sentir parte da sociedade. A partir daí contratamos um consultor para nos ajudar a desenhar o projeto, definir as causas e escolher as instituições participantes do Milhas do Bem.

Qual é o objetivo do projeto em seu primeiro ano?

Na verdade, não há um objetivo específico, mas o compromisso de disseminar essa semente entre colaboradores, clientes e parceiros da Smiles, para que juntos, realizemos o maior número de projetos possíveis. Por esse motivo, a Smiles participará ativamente das doações, oferecendo uma milha a mais a cada milha doada.

Quais são as instituições parceiras?

São seis instituições que atuam em projetos nas áreas de educação/ empreendedorismo/ gestão e uma instituição de voluntariado. São elas: ✓ Cruzada ✓ Instituto Reação ✓ Parceiros Voluntários ✓ Junior Achievement ✓ Fundação Dom Cabral ✓ ESPM Social ✓ CEPAC (voluntariado).

As atividades vão desde a capacitação de jovens para o mercado de trabalho, passando por oficinas de linguagem, teatro, atendimento psicológico, à iniciação aos esportes e capacitação.

Na sua opinião, por que o setor privado deve se envolver em projetos de responsabilidade social?

É responsabilidade dos empresários, empreendedores, gestores das empresas retribuírem e participarem do desenvolvimento da sociedade, não só gerando empregos, mas participando ativamente de projetos sociais. É importante capacitar as novas gerações para a entrada no mercado de trabalho, e de que forma poderíamos fazer isso, se não começar pela educação. O Milhas do Bem não é um projeto da Smiles, mas de toda a sociedade, que tem como objetivo auxiliar os menos favorecidos por meio da doação de milhas para os projetos voltados à educação e empreendedorismo ou, no caso do voluntariado, de horas dos colaboradores da Smiles durante o expediente, para dar aulas, trocar cartas com as crianças ou dar dicas de finanças pessoais, por exemplo.

Horyou é uma rede social para o bem social. Qual a importância estratégica da internet e das redes sociais para o projeto de responsabilidade social e voluntariado da Smiles?

A internet é democrática e pode ser alcançada de qualquer parte do mundo e para um projeto de responsabilidade social e voluntariado, precisamos que nossas crenças, nossas mensagens cheguem a todos os cantos, sem discriminação. A melhor forma de multiplicar nossas ideias é distribuí-las nos canais digitais, nas redes sociais. É importante que as empresas encorajem seus parceiros, clientes e colaboradores a compartilhar nossos sonhos de contribuir para que crianças e jovens tenham esperança de um futuro melhor. Além disso, a Smiles é 100% digital e baseada em transações pela internet, ou seja, esse canal é o nosso dia-a-dia, nosso meio de negócios.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou

britta hos M´lop Tapang_2

Britta Holmberg is project director for The World Childhood Foundation. Located in Germany, Brazil, Sweden and the USA, the foundation’s goal is to prevent exploitation and abuse of Children. Over 100 projects across the world are implemented and supported by the foundation because every child has the right to safety, happiness, playfulness and curiosity in life. Mrs. Holmberg is involved in various projects worldwide; here she tells us about some of the success stories, and what to dream, inspire and act means in changing a child’s world one project at a time. — by Amma Aburam

Have you always wanted to be an advocate for Children’s rights? How did it come about?

For me, the interest and awareness about children’s rights has developed step-by-step. My first contact with children in vulnerable situations was when I worked at summer camps for children from the Chernobyl area, some of whom were living in institutions because of their hearing deficiencies. I remember visiting an institution in Belarus where deaf children were supposed to practice “hearing” and how so much of their education was led by teachers who did not know sign- language. Visits at several orphanages in Eastern Europe in the nineties made it very clear to me that these children were deprived of their childhood and that better options needed to be developed.

What are some of the key ongoing projects at the World Childhood Foundation? What is their impact?

Childhood supports around 100 projects around the world, all of which are important for the communities where they are implemented. I am especially proud when we take a risk and fund something that we believe in but where we cannot know from the start how it will turn out. There are many key projects that have had an impact also on national level, for example a program for HIV-positive mothers in Russia which led to a complete change in approach from the local authorities that could give the mothers better support and information which resulted in less children being abandoned at birth. We are also supporting a cluster of programs in Siem Rep in Cambodia that together not only can identify children who have been sexually abused at an early stage but also provide them and their families with qualified support. We have funded a number of parenting programs in South Africa, which have given thousands of children a safer and more loving childhood but also contributed to shed the light on locally developed low-cost programs.

Play is an integral part of the projects the World Childhood Foundation supports
Play is an integral part of the projects the World Childhood Foundation supports

What are your best/favorite success stories of the impact the foundation has had on the lives of children?

There are so many stories! Childhood has a very close contact with the partners that we support on the ground and we visit each project twice a year. We often meet with beneficiaries as well and each of them has their unique story. One meeting that made a strong impression on me was with a number of fathers in South Africa whose sons participated in a program for high-risk youth – who were on the edge of being removed from their families and/or expelled from school. Part of the program is working with the parents and making an effort to find at least one positive father-figure for the boys. The way these fathers described the transformation from being a distant, quite authoritarian father to one that actually starts to listen to their child and show affection and how much the loving relationship with their child now means to them was such a wonderful experience – not the least since absent and violent father are one of the key problems in South Africa – and loving, present fathers one of the key factors for change. There are also so many stories of resilience. I remember one 15 year old girl in Thailand that used to work on the streets – begging and scavenging – to support her uncle and aunt that she lived with as well as her siblings. With help from our partner organization she could return to school, the aunt got help to start a small business and the girl was now receiving vocational training to contribute to the family’s income. She had such dignity and strength despite a very difficult situation.

What in your opinion are the three building blocks in implementing children’s rights within communities?

One is simply to see and treat children as human beings! That might seem evident but in my experience it is far from being the case. In so many situations we treat children as a separate category that we do not listen to or scream at or humiliate in a way that we would never do with adults. Number two is being humble, starting with trying to understand the challenges and possibilities in each community – not thinking that we can come in from the outside and provide the solutions. Support the local capacity and local solutions. Number three is skipping the idea of quick fixes. Change takes time. If you want to get to the roots of problems, you will need to have a holistic approach and long-term perspective.

Early childhood development project in South Africa
Early childhood development project in South Africa

What are some of the challenges you face while working for Children’s rights and how do you address them?

One challenge that we struggle with is well-meaning people who want to “rescue” children, often with a charity approach that puts the helper in focus rather than the child or the family they claim they want to help. I am so sad to see that so much resources, energy and personal investments are spent on the wrong types of projects that sometimes are even harmful to children. One example is orphanage tourism and volunteerism where children are turned into tourist attractions and are easy targets for people who want to exploit them. Since people love funding orphanages it means that in some areas that is the only option available for poor families who cannot afford to put their child in school. Skewed funding leads to children being separated from the families that would actually be able to take care of them if some support was available that did not require that the child is placed in an orphanage. There are plenty of good intentions related to children at risk – but if you do not combine that with knowledge you will at best not contribute to any sustainable change but at worst actually make the situation worse.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? Any ideals?

I have a wonderful job and am happy to continue doing what I am doing for quite some time. If I get tired of travelling as much as I do I would love to focus on research and maybe evaluations of programs.

What does our mantra Dream, Act and Inspire mean to you personally and professionally?

For me, the mantra Dream, Act and Inspire means that we all have an important role to play to raise awareness about children’s rights and that we need to step up and do things that we might not really dare to do, but need to do anyway.

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