A chain of good – Someone has to start so that others will follow
The novel coronavirus has hit Brazil with full force. Within the shortest time, the country developed to one of the epicenters of the corona pandemic. While in many parts of the world resources have been joined to fight the virus, some regions of Brazil are lacking much-needed help. For this reason, employees and management at thyssenkrupp's Campo Limpo site in Brazil decided to help where it is urgently needed. As a result, a total of 280 aid packages were distributed to people in need on site.
The novel coronavirus has severely affected Brazil as well. According to John Hopkins University, more than 350,000 people in the South American country are now infected. This makes Brazil, besides the USA, one of the epicenters of the corona pandemic. The state of São Paulo, one of the most densely populated regions in Brazil, is especially affected. In the inland of the region, at Campo Limpo, one of thyssenkrupp’s oldest sites is located. “The town of Campo Limpo has developed around our company, so to speak. As one of the oldest and largest companies in the city, we have a certain social responsibility. That’s why we try to support the community around us through various measures,” explains Bianca Ferreira da Silva, Communication Analyst at thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies South America. In some areas, the living conditions outside the central city are precarious. In addition to the difficult living conditions in temporary homes, families are also struggling financially.
The coronavirus aggravates the situation
It is precisely this situation that is further aggravated by the novel coronavirus. “Due to COVID-19, schools in the region have been closed. Usually, the poor children are fed in the schools, but now the parents have to pay for their meals. But the additional money needed is simply non-existent,” continues Bianca. The financially disadvantaged citizens in particular are much more affected by the pandemic. Around 40 million workers in Brazil have no formal jobs with companies. They work mainly in the construction industry, as domestic workers or in beauty salons. When trade and services were closed due to the quarantine, thousands of people were without income overnight. What was once scarce was now nothing.
A crisis that unsettles everyone
When Bianca Ferreira da Silva was informed at the beginning of April that the entire plant would be shut down for a certain period, she too had concerns about the future. She was worried about her own work and that of her approximately 2,200 colleagues who work at the plant. “An unprecedented crisis like this makes everyone uncertain,” she says.
However, Bianca quickly realized that many other families located in the São José neighborhood were going through a much worse situation than the insecurity and loss of income caused by short-time work. Therefore, she decided to learn more about the families in the neighborhood of thyssenkrupp. “I checked out several local nonprofit organizations and learned about the stories that were happening around us,” recalls the Brazilian. Equipped with a protective mask and sufficient distance, the thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies employee looked at the circumstances for herself. She wanted to find out what the people on site really needed because although some companies had already donated disinfectant, the people lacked basic supplies. It was clear to Bianca that help was urgently needed here. “Helping people is part of my DNA. I think it should be everyone’s job to show solidarity with those who are in difficult situations.”
All forces were mobilized together
Together with Michelle Amorim, a social worker at the thyssenkrupp plant, Bianca organized the donation of 5 tons of food and urgently needed hygiene and cleaning items for families in social need. “The executive Board reacted really quickly in this situation and my superiors also supported our project. This enabled us to react quickly in the crisis,” the 24-year-old sums up. So the donation could already be handed over to the families in mid-May.
A chain of goodness
The dedication of the two employees did not go unnoticed. “After the colleagues learned about the project, they also wanted to join in and make donations. This resulted in a chain of goodness. That is why we organized a voluntary campaign, in which we have so far been able to collect more than 200 kilos of food and hygiene articles. We will also donate these to families in difficult circumstances,” explains Camila Macedo, HR manager at thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies South America.
“To be part of such a chain that wants to do good is extraordinary,” affirms Bianca Ferreira da Silva, Communication Analyst at thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies South America. She hopes that colleagues will continue to participate in help projects in the future because the project shows that a lot can be achieved together.
Help arrives where it is most urgently needed
Especially the voices of those who benefit from the donation are recognition enough for Bianca and her colleagues. “I didn’t want to rely on donations, but due to the quarantine I have no income. The children are no longer in school and no longer receive any food. I am grateful that I can provide for my family with the donations I receive,” says Aluízio Santos, father of five children, who live in community Vila da Conquista, in São José neighborhood.
Veranice Lima dos Santos, 50, is also happy about the help from the company. She is the mother of a young man with special needs. She is not only struggling with her son’s health problems but also with caring for herself. However, this has not stopped her from doing everything possible to cook one meal a day for children near her home. “At first, I merely asked acquaintances for donations so that I could provide for the children. Then I became part of the thyssenkrupp project and the donations enabled me to provide for 130 children! I always think that children are the future and we have to take care of them,” says Veranice and is sure: “If we join forces, we will overcome this crisis together.