“May we never forget that there is nothing greater than helping others.” This phrase concentrates the essence of Fundación MAPFRE’s latest campaign which, under the slogan, “A more humane future”, aims to remind us of the importance of commitment and individual responsibility when building a world in which no one is left behind. A philosoph y that we have been applying for more than 45 years.
TEXT: LAURA SÁNCHEZ IMAGES: FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE
The campaign “A more humane future”, launched by Fundación MAPFRE, is based around a video where the action takes place in a train carriage. Three generations are sitting in the same compartment: a little girl, her mother and an elderly man carrying a mysterious, ancientlooking suitcase that immediately arouses the little girl’s interest. When the mother steps out to answer a phone call, the little girl and the old man begin a conversation based on the innocent sincerity and curiosity of the little girl. “What an old suitcase! What do you have in it?”
Only a child could start this kind of conversation. The supportive and unprejudiced gaze of childhood becomes the ideal vehicle for the man – the personification of Fundación MAPFRE – to demonstrate that, in reality, everything needed to help others fits in a suitcase: books to share knowledge with anyone who wants to learn and cannot; keys to the homes of all those people who feel lonely and need someone by their side; a bowl of warm soup that is able to both nourish and comfort and which has been cooked with love; a huge contact list of people willing to lend a hand and help others find a decent job; a dictionary that does not include the word “strange”, especially when it comes to illnesses; a mirror that has the power to reflect the immense talents of people with intellectual disabilities… and, in the end, the most important thing: a piece of red wool that the man ties on one of the girl’s fingers so that she never forgets that there is nothing greater than helping others.
Fundación MAPRE has been on an intense journey for forty-five years, carrying that suitcase full of projects with which it works to ensure that no one is left behind. And y ear after year, whether in times of prosperity or crisis, it reaffirms the immense power that people wield when they come together to achieve something. We have seen it, once again, over the past year. The pandemic may have been unprecedented, but each and every one of the projects implemented in response to the situations generated by COVID-19 has been based on the same premise and the same values that inspired the creation of our foundation in 1975: tolerance, trust, cohesion, cordiality, solidarity and enthusiasm.
For Fundación MAPFRE, this feeling of solidarity is something basic and inherent to its way of understanding human relations: without cooperation there is no progress and, even if there was the slightest possibility of progress without people collaborating with each other, that would not be – in any case – the kind of progress that inspires and moves the more than 10,000 volunteers who work in the more than 900 projects currently underway. All the initiatives in which these people collaborate are inspired by an idea of progress in which everyone moves forward together, at different paces, with different capacities and conditioning circumstances, but all together nonetheless!
In coordinating the work of the volunteers, the role of Fundación MAPFRE’s managers is not only to guide people, but also to help others to succeed and to optimize their potential. Solidarity does not recognize hierarchies, nor does commitment: Instead, it is about training people so that everyone, at any given moment, can offer the necessary support and guidance. Fundación MAPFRE empowers both its partners and beneficiaries so that they do not hesitate to step up to take the lead on each project.
For Fundación MAPFRE, this feeling of solidarity is something basic and inherent to its way of understanding human relations: without cooperation there is no progress
Feedback and encouragement are a vital part of team performance, especially when we share a common direction and a strong sense of community. Fundación MAPFRE could not be closer to that vision: the foundation constantly interchanges information between projects, managers, volunteers, and beneficiaries. It analyzes, learns and improves so that volunteer teams become increasingly responsible and aware of the value they bring to the table. Feedback is necessary for growth in all areas of our lives, especially when we share a common direction and a keen sense of community.
In 2020, 978 Fundación MAPFRE projects reached in excess of 3 million beneficiaries in more than 30 countries around the world. Almost a thousand direct tickets to the search for better opportunities along with personal and social development. To ensure that no passenger on this journey is left behind, Fundación MAPFRE promotes the integration of groups at risk of social exclusion, offers backing and support for the most disadvantaged people and their families, supports education as a tool for development, and facilitates incorporation into the labor market.
All social action activities are carried out in collaboration with non-profit institutions and entities. These entities are firmly rooted in their districts, locations, cities, communities or countries, and there is no one better placed than them to identify situations of need in which to intervene. A good example is the Fundación Grandes Amigos. Since its creation in 1994, this organization has cared for more than 850 elderly people experiencing problems of loneliness. It provides emotional support for these people, something that cannot be supplied by the authorities, but which its 875 volunteers do very well, taking care of the elderly and establishing friendships, and mutually helping one another. Their role during the months of lockdown, during the worst moments of the pandemic, has been fundamental for this group.
Fundación MAPFRE’s presence in Latin America is especially significant. Our collaboration with CESAL (Centro de Estudios y Solidaridad con América Latina) exemplifies much of the work we do with local partners. This entity mainly operates in marginalized areas of cities where many people who arrive from rural areas settle. Many of these families are affected by family disintegration, lack of work and poverty, and as a consequence, the quality of life and education of children suffers. The aim is to promote education, particularly among the children and young people of these disadvantaged communities.Fundación MAPFRE understands education in a holistic way, working on educational projects that, at the same time, support nutrition, health, education, women›s empowerment and training for access to the labor market.
Through the campaign “A more humane future”, Fundación MAPFRE’s intention is to tie a piece of red wool on the finger of each and every one of us so that we never forget that one of the mos t gratifying sensations is to help others. Fortunately, in a year as challenging as 2020, when the coronavirus disrupted so many activities, events and programs, our volunteers’ desire to collaborate increased, reaching 17% more beneficiaries than in the previous year. Solidarity and commitment become even more pronounced in difficult times.