The pandemic has changed everything – the way we live, the way we feel and the way we work. Over time it became more and more difficult to think of anything else other than the virus and its consequences. Many things that we planned to do are still not possible and we don’t know how things will continue. We don’t know how to help improve the situation. So, what can we do at all?
When nothing made sense
It’s totally normal to feel lost – I felt the same way at the beginning of the pandemic. Especially at work, it was hard to find motivation again since any project or event was cancelled. It seemed like there was no sense in doing anything. In addition, the team spirit and the sense of belonging was not the same anymore. We all struggled with the new situation that has already lasted for more than a year so far.
However, when I look back to April 2020, I can say that the situation suddenly changed, because we were united again by one common goal: The Siemens Covid-19 relief fund.
A year ago, on April 14th, the Managing Board of Siemens AG decided to set up the relief fund to provide support, without red tape, to relief organizations as well as to individuals impacted by the COVID-19 crisis worldwide – all under the auspices of the community-serving nonprofit organization Siemens Caring Hands e.V. Our team was amazed by the idea and proud to take responsibility even though we have never set up a fund like this before and didn’t know what to expect. However, with the idea of being able to help others and support our societies during this crisis we were excited about everything that was to come. Rather than just watching the effects of the pandemic unfold and solidarize with the many essential and healthcare workers, it felt good to be able to actively do something about it.
Together we can make a difference
It quickly became clear that we could not implement the fund on our own but needed support from various experts of the Siemens world and from the affected societies. Only by working together as a team could we find and create solutions for each country that really make a difference. The competence and commitment of each individual were required to set up successful processes. It was great to see how passionate and committed everybody was and this mood was simply contagious. Regardless of the different regions we came from and the different positions we held, we all just had one goal.
A common goal
We wanted and still want to help society by offering solutions that are based on the competence, the network, and the products of Siemens. That’s how we define shared value. And when Siemens called on its employees to donate to the relief fund, their willingness to help clearly exceeded our expectations. Despite months full of fear and uncertainty our #TeamSiemens showed great team effort and solidarity. People wanted to become a part of this initiative and team. And the result is impressive: Within one year, more than 15 Mio Euros were collected by Siemens and its employees. More than 200.000 employees worldwide took part. So far, aid projects in 38 countries and Corona hotspots have been implemented, also in Germany.
What we support
Amongst the worldwide projects, supported by Siemens Caring Hands, are:
- Support of local health systems
- Provision of medical equipment for hospitals
- Provision of protective equipment and corona tests
- Food supply for families in need
- Improvement of basic sanitation and the establishment of hygiene stations
- Promoting innovative, digital education formats and access to education for all
- Mental Health Support
You can find an overview here.
What else do we want to do?
The remaining budgets are to be put into other lighthouse projects to help people in the affected countries and regions as well as possible. In the beginning we mainly thought of current help – like an emergency aid program. In the meantime, the topic is being considered larger and more sustainable – digital solutions are particularly in demand. Recently, Siemens Caring Hands donated a large digital bundle to the THW Foundation to fight the pandemic and respond to emergencies in a faster and more targeted manner.
Benefits of helping
A year ago, we started with the Siemens Covid-19 relief fund. And so far, it’s been a challenging but also amazing journey. Despite numerous working hours and short nights, this project has given us back our team spirit and the feeling of belonging. It was an honor to work with such committed people. Moreover, I finally felt like what I was doing there made sense again. Helping others united us and made us feel happy and satisfied again.