Saying thanks with a box

Roche colleagues join Box Appeal campaign and pack essentials for labourers in Dubai

From the tallest building in the world to the biggest shopping malls, Dubai has it all. But the city and its glitzy buildings owe a lot to poor, migrant labourers who toil in extreme desert conditions to build these edifices. Last year, colleagues from Roche UAE joined the Box Appeal campaign led by Radisson hotels that seeks to provide boxes full of essentials to these labourers. The boxes are an acknowledgement for hard work and provide some basic amenities they sometimes so sadly lack in the camps in which they live.

“Observing the labourers toil in scorching temperatures of 45-48 degrees Celsius in summer, for a meagre income and reading articles that appear in newspapers about their pathetic living conditions their story struck a chord in my heart. The Box Appeal provided me the opportunity that I was looking for to contribute in my own small way,” says Vimala Peter, Head of Administration and Corporate Affairs.

Roche employees participated for the first time last year. Excitement was high with participation levels to match. Says Odeta Rimkeviciute, Communication Director Middle East: “Two years ago in all about 60 boxes were collected from the building which also houses our office. Last year we added 30 more. Some colleagues brought a few items for individual boxes while others purchased things for more than one box. We got together and took a break to fill in all the boxes and handed them over to the project coordinators when they came around.”

The appeal that encourages people to fill a box with everyday items that is then handed out to the labourers runs between September 1 and October 31 every year. Started in 2008 several countries in the region participate. Two years ago over 17,000 boxes were collected filled with items such as a T-shirt, cap, disposable razor, shaving cream, toothpaste, nail clipper, soap, shampoo and a hand towel. Those who wish to take part in the program can pick up boxes, free of charge, from any participating Radisson Group hotel and return it filled with a list of pre-defined items that the Box Appeal organizers hand out.

Bring another 100 boxes

The project has left a positive impact on Roche employees and their families. “It was a great way to introduce my children to charitable causes and volunteer work and setting them on the path of doing good acts for others. They enjoyed buying different things to fill the boxes. In fact my daughter asked me to bring another 100 boxes so we could help more,” Amgad Abulfutouh, Virology and Established Products Business Unit Manager tells Roche.

As Annie James, Quality Leader and GCP Compliance and Training Officer put it: “It helped me experience one of the best feelings on earth – the joy of giving.”

For the labourers in the camps in Dubai, and other parts of the Middle East, these boxes are a reminder that there are many who care in their own small way.

Tags: Sustainability, Philanthropy, Society