Doctors Without Borders, Fundación Integra, the winemaker Carlos Moro and the fashion designer Carolina Herrera were the winners in this year’s edition.
TEXT: ÁNGEL MARTOS PHOTO: ALBERTO CARRASCO
“No good deed goes unrewarded”, wrote Miguel de Cervantes in one of his major plays (El Rufián Dichoso, or The Fortunate Ruffian). A maxim upheld by the Fundación MAPFRE Social Outreach Awards, designed to recognize the work and dedication of people and projects that generate positive changes and contribute to making this world a better place. A goal that, once again this year, was achieved during the awards ceremony on October 6 at the Casino de Madrid, in a celebration presided over by Her Majesty Queen Sofia and attended by Milagros Paniagua, Spain’s Secretary General for Social Inclusion and Social Welfare Objectives and Policies.
“I am delighted to receive this award in Madrid”, declared one of the big names of the evening, businesswoman and fashion designer Carolina Herrera. “All the award winners have performed outstanding and selfless social work for the common good, so that people who for various reasons need support from all of us get the chance of a better life”, she stressed. Her speech, on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, set the tone for an evening of solidarity and an active vision of a better future. Herrera received this distinction for her entire professional career, linked to her charitable work in the battle against malnutrition, child welfare, the fight against and prevention of breast cancer, and the development of women. In addition, during the coronavirus pandemic, and in collaboration with the Red Cross and Red Crescent, she launched the Carolina Herrera Heart for Hope initiative, through which she raised 7 million dollars to provide medical material and psychological support around the world. The other three winners were the Integra Foundation (Best Organization for its Social Outreach), the Doctors Without Borders Spain medical train in Ukraine (Best Project or Initiative for its Social Impact), and the Bodega Matarromera winery (Best Initiative in the Agriculture and Livestock Sector). A total of 1,432 candidates from Europe, the United States and Latin America submitted entries for this year’s Fundación MAPFRE Social Outreach Awards, which include a total prize fund of 120,000 euros. Antonio Huertas, President of Fundación MAPFRE, congratulated the winners, and especially those who “live through extremely critical situations on a daily basis and get up every day thinking positively so that they can continue to care for people who are suffering and who need them”.
The awards ceremony was hosted by the journalist Lary León, another charitable woman, director of the TV channel FAN3 for hospitalized children and responsible for projects to help the third world, in addition to being an example of personal achievement (she was born with no arms and only one leg). León introduced the speeches of the award winners. Ana Botella, president of Fundación Integra, an organization that was founded in 2001 with the aim of supporting the employability of people who, for various reasons (ex-prisoners, former drug addicts, female victims of gender violence, homeless people, etc.), find it more difficult to integrate into society, explained at the event that “When they reach the foundation, they are offered a second chance to start a new life by getting a job.” Over the years, Fundación Integra has provided employment to more than 19,500 people, 70% of whom are women. “This is the most important social element, as it will enable them to have a decent life”, said the founder, who thanked the 3,000 plus volunteers who help to train these people, as well as the 61 companies that form part of its employment network.
The award given to Doctors Without Borders Spain was collected by its president, Paula Gil, on behalf of “all my Ukrainian colleagues who for more than seven months have been doing their utmost to alleviate the suffering caused by this war”. The medicalhumanitarian association, which has 600 people in
Ukraine (80% Ukrainians), came up with a solution to relieve congestion in the health system in the areas closest to the fighting with Russia: a medical train to transport the sick from the front line to the west of the country. Since it was launched, it has made 58 trips and has transferred 1,811 patients, as well as 78 children evacuated from an orphanage. But as Gil reports, “Turmoil is affecting the most vulnerable communities far beyond Eastern Europe, and much harder”, from the Sahel belt and East Africa to South Sudan, Somalia and northwestern Nigeria.
Sustainability was also the focus of this awards ceremony, with Carlos Moro, founder and president of the Bodega Matarromera winery, which won the Best Initiative in the Agriculture and Livestock Sector. An award that recognizes the commitment to the region, innovation and sustainability of a company with more than 30 years of experience. “We work for our villages and their people”, declared the businessman, “to establish employment and business activity in rural areas, taking advantage of the versatility of the land, which, combined with innovative processes, means a firm commitment to technology and an unwavering defense of sustainability and equality.” With its ten wineries located in six Designation of Origin areas (Rueda, Ribera del Duero, Cigales, Toro, Rioja, and Ribeiro), the Bodega Matarromera winery is a leader in R&D&I and is committed to respecting the environment through the construction of eco-efficient facilities, organic agriculture, waste management, and renewable energies.