The Roche Children’s Walk
Walking together for a greater cause
Small steps for Roche employees, giant leaps for Malawi’s children
A yearly tradition with powerful impact
Malawi is one of the least developed countries in the world with more than half of the population living below the international poverty line and more than 700,000 children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. But Roche sees the youth of the country as an opportunity for Malawi to have a brighter future: by investing in the education of its young citizens, Roche hopes to have a hand in building the knowledge and skills needed to develop a self-sustaining society in Malawi.
With that goal in mind, the Roche Children’s Walk has taken place every 16 June, starting in 2003. Since then, over 150,000 employees at more than 133 Roche sites around the world have walked to raise over 12.5 million Swiss francs for Roche’s long-term education projects in Malawi.
One of those employees is Daniel Indergand, who has been a part of the Children’s Walk since its earliest years. Daniel enjoys participating in the Children’s Walk not only because it gives him the opportunity to bond with his co-workers by working together for a greater cause, but because he has seen the impact that the Children’s Walk has for the children of Malawi first-hand. In 2009, Daniel and eight of his colleagues at Roche visited Malawi to see the projects supported by the Children’s Walk for themselves. “That was a very impressive and memorable experience for me,” he says. “It gave me fresh motivation to participate in the Children’s Walk every year to raise money for the orphans.”
Building a sustainable future
Daniel was pleased to be able to take a detailed look into how the money raised by the Children’s Walk is used. “The money from Basel is invested in projects for orphans in Malawi,” he explains. “These are orphan centres where children receive education, can be trained to work in construction or to be school teachers, and where promising students who aspire to attend university can get advanced educational support. There are also funds to provide school uniforms and meals.” Martin Hirsch, a Roche employee who visited Malawi in 2013, was equally impressed by what he saw there. “These centres don’t only feed the children but also teach them to grow vegetables, and then to harvest and cook food” he observes. “They teach them how to fend for themselves.” By investing in the safety and self-sufficiency of Malawi’s children, Roche helps to lay the groundwork for a sustainable future in their country.
The Walk depends upon its participants, who gather sponsors to donate to their team or individual efforts, to raise funds. Roche then matches the amount of money raised, doubling the contribution each year. Collaborations with ECPP (European Coalition of Positive People) and UNICEF Switzerland also help expand the reach of Roche’s projects in Malawi. But the need is great, and our work up to now is only the beginning. Every 16 June, the Children’s Walk, with the continued support of Roche employees, will keep building on the foundation we’ve created to give Malawi’s children better lives and a strong future for their country.
Roche shares the belief that education, along with proper nutrition and health, are the pillars of a sustainable society ... That’s what I learned we’re walking for at Roche sites around the world every June. I had to travel more than 7000 kilometres to understand. But now that I do, I’m gonna keep walking.
Read more about Roche Children's Walk here