“Supporting kids in need is the purest contribution to humanity.”

“The Children’s Walk has been with me every step of the way through my Roche career. It is incredibly important to me. Through the Walk, we come together as Roche to make an impact for kids around the world.”

Peggy Grueninger, Head of Corporate Donations and Philanthropy joined Roche in 2002, a year before the inaugural Children’s Walk, which took place at three Roche sites to raise funds to address the devastation caused by AIDS in Malawi. From the first moment, Peggy was inspired by the cause and the commitment shown by her colleagues.

“It has struck me since then that who we are at Roche is contributing to society,” she says. “It’s a fundamental part of our culture and collective character. I hope this year for the 20th anniversary walk, we can raise more money than ever before!”

In total, an incredible 328,000 Roche employees have participated in the Children's Walk over 20 years, fundraising to support projects through the legally independent global charity Roche Employee Action and Charity Trust (Re&Act).

Projects such as UNICEF’s drive to improve menstrual hygiene in Malawian schools. This project aims to end stigma and discrimination against adolescent girls who have started menstruation by promoting positive support for them.

“In some countries, many young girls start their education but when they start to menstruate, they drop out,” says Peggy. “This fantastic program in Malawi addresses exactly that, helping to ensure that girls are not stigmatised simply because they have started to menstruate. UNICEF works with the local schools and governments to teach the girls, their teachers, caregivers and their families that it’s normal and how to support themselves.”

A national training manual on good menstrual hygiene management has been developed for teachers, school stakeholders and learners, both boys and girls, to create a healthy society. The initiative has also provided 2,000 girls sanitary pads and supplies.

It is just one example of the impact that the Children’s Walk can have, and Peggy believes it has become a unifying force at Roche.

“A good example was in the period after COVID,” she says. “Understandably, many people still did not want to come back into the office. But when it came to the Children’s Walk that year, it felt like a breakthrough moment. Everyone wanted to come together to support it and to make a difference for children. I think that supporting kids in need is the purest contribution to humanity.”

Peggy hopes that more colleagues come out to support the Children’s Walk than ever before. Since 2003, 328,000 Roche employees have raised over CHF 22 million in donations for children’s projects around the world.

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