Heidi Bürgi, Senior Legal Counsel at Roche, had been involved in the Children’s Walk for many years, walking with her team to raise money for the initiative. But when she accepted the invitation to become a board member of the Roche Employee Action and Charity Trust (Re&Act) – the independent charity that manages the donations raised from the Children’s Walk – it opened up a whole new perspective for her.
“Being a board member provides me with deep insights into the kind of requests that come in, and I am privileged to see the impact we are able to provide for all these children,” she says. “It is both a great responsibility and a great honour to fulfil this role.”
Re&Act was established in 2006 to manage voluntary financial contributions from Roche employees (primarily from the Children’s Walk) to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) focusing on helping children around the world.
One of the very first NGO applications that Heidi reviewed in her role as a Re&Act board member was for Child’s Dream, a charitable, not-for-profit association supporting children and young adults in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The organisation works to reduce childhood mortality and improve health and hygiene in schools and communities, while also increasing access to quality education.
Little did Heidi know when the funding application was agreed that a few years later, she would have the opportunity to see their work up close in a visit to Cambodia.
“I was so impressed by the passion, dedication and high organisational standards of Child’s Dream,” she says. “One of the founders, Marc, and his local team, showed us the impact of our support in Cambodia – schools, computer labs and scholarships. It was so special to see it all in person, and I was particularly touched by how open and warm the people in the schools and villages were with their welcome for us.”
The partnership between Child’s Dream and Roche was established in 2019, with three clear areas of focus in Cambodia – 1) improving school building infrastructure, with a five-year goal of 150 new primary, secondary or high school classrooms benefitting 6,000 students a year; 2) supporting computer laboratory facilities, with the aim of 10 fully equipped computer laboratories to vastly improve IT skills and knowledge; and 3) backing High School Scholarships to help marginalised students improve job and social mobility opportunities.
“The visit was very inspiring and made a deep impression on me,” says Heidi. “I really hope that many more children will be able to make their dreams come true with the support of our Children's walk!”
Employees fundraise to support projects through Re&Act, as well as local projects in over 70 countries where we operate and beyond. Since the first company Walk in 2003, more than 328,000 Roche employees have raised over CHF 22 million in donations for children’s projects around the world.