Air France Foundation:
working for children
The Air France Foundation was created in 1992 to provide aid to children. It studies, selects and finances projects working on behalf of sick, disabled and underprivileged children the world over.
Over the past 24 years, the Air France Foundation has supported 1,237 projects, most of them sponsored by Air France staff in partnership with associations and NGOs. It is now one of the leading French corporate foundations in terms of the financial assistance it provides and the number of projects it contributes to.
The crucial role of education
In France and abroad, the Foundation subsidizes associations that help children attend or return to school. Everyone has a right to an education, and this fundamental commitment has enabled thousands of young people with bleak prospects to interact with others and regain hope.
There are multiple obstacles to education: poverty (an inability to pay for schooling, and the need for all family members to work), distance of school from home, lack of qualified teachers and/or facilities, being a girl (early marriage and pregnancy, unsafe conditions at school, etc.), preventable illnesses, population displacements for survival, natural disasters and children with disabilities. All these factors deprive thousands of people from the good-quality education that every individual needs.
Improving life for disabled and disadvantaged children
More than 650 million people, or 10 percent of the world’s population, live today with a physical or mental disability. They include nearly 190 million children. For one-third of them, mere access to education can be a real obstacle course. Yet children with disabilities should enjoy all the rights set forth by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. These include the right to special treatment and adapted schooling and training; the right to lead a full, decent and dignified life; the possibility of enjoying the highest possible degree of self-sufficiency and social integration; and the chance to fulfill their potential. The Foundation’s vocation is to support initiatives that help restore hope and self-esteem for thousands of disadvantaged children, by enabling them to return to school.
The Air France Foundation also comes to the aid of young people living on the streets. This is one of its primary focuses. In Morocco, Cambodia, the Philippines, Romania, Brazil, Egypt, Senegal, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Russia, Colombia, the Congo and Peru, as well as in France, it has constantly supported associations that work to reunite these youngsters with their families, even though this can be a difficult and sometimes impossible task. These associations work tirelessly to rebuild the lives of young people who have fallen through the cracks.
The Air France Foundation Award
Now in its sixth year, this annual prize was awarded to AuditionSolidarité (photo p.194), which works for people with hearing problems. This association provides hearing aids for disadvantaged children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, both in France and abroad. It raises awareness among students in music schools about the importance of protecting their ears. The three founders and friends all left their jobs as company directors. In 2008, after moving and spending a year reflecting on this issue, Christine Bourger, Odile Petit and Carole Ercole created AuditionSolidarité, united by their common values of generosity, sharing and commitment. At the awards ceremony, Frédéric Gagey, chairman of Air France and chairman of the Foundation, also gave medals to four employees for their work in the humanitarian sector: Amaury Donat (pilot), Nicolas Mascaro (flight attendant), Stéphane Noël (ground staff) and Annick Torchet (retired).
Commitment of Air France employees
A foundation can unite company employees around a common project, via different activities: volunteering, skills-based sponsorship, donations and so on. Once staff members have rallied round the foundation, their support can promote social cohesion within the company. Friends of the Air France Foundation network, founded in 2004, today has more than 2,500 members in the airline. In 2016, the Foundation made 17 appeals for donations and for volunteers among staff members. This year, together with Air France Cargo, it organized a large-scale collection of toys, educational games, school supplies and baby equipment for children in Madagascar. Several tons of donated items were flown by Cargo to Antananarivo, and ten associations benefited from this superb collective effort on the part of Air France personnel.
Members of Friends of the Air France Foundation receive news, relay information to colleagues and participate in initiatives involving volunteers working with partner associations or as part of events organized by the Foundation. If you are an Air France staff member, please join us: there is so much still to be done!
Terra Dos Homens in close up
Terra Dos Homens in close up The Brazilian association Terra Dos Homens works on behalf of children and teenagers of Rio de Janeiro whose rights have been violated or are threatened. Its approach is based on encouraging and bolstering the role played by families and the community, which is crucial if these young people living on the streets or in shelters, or who are victims of violence, are to develop to their full potential. It provides them with direct support through community development and family reintegration projects, and by training professional social workers who can help and advise them. Terra Dos Homens is recognized for its transparency and its expertise as it works to protect and defend children’s rights, and hopes to see its methods implemented throughout all five regions of Brazil.
Zoom sur Yara LNC
Focus on Yara LNC The association Yara Les Nouveaux Constructeurs created and runs two boarding schools in Niger: in Zinder (115 young people) and in Niamey (20 young people). A dozen or so adolescents are also learning motorcycle mechanics at the Zinder school. These initiatives give these young people from isolated villages access to comprehensive, regular schooling, with strict equality between girls and boys. Students are supervised by professionals, who teach classes and also oversee activities that encourage personal development. There are also plans to build a new boarding school in Niamey that will accommodate 100 additional students, establish new professional training courses and create an elementary school within the Zinder school.
Air France Foundation on screen
Une nuit avec les héros de la santé (A night with heroic health workers): 2.2 million viewers. On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, at 8:55pm, French TV channel France 2 broadcast a tribute to health sector workers, in a special program hosted by Michel Drucker and recorded at La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. The show highlighted the work of Air France staff with Aviation Sans Frontières (ASF). Since its inception, and in partnership with many NGOs, ASF has been assisting and transporting sick children who require treatment that cannot be provided in their home country.
Elles ont toutes une histoire (They all have a story): 22 million viewers. For International Women’s Day, the Air France Foundation partnered with eight other corporate foundations to produce a collection of short documentaries: 11 portraits of women were shown on the France Télévisions channels in March 2016. It features 11 women serving their community, who are now back on their feet after receiving assistance from associations when they were in distress.