France – Notre Dame de Bondeville
The French-based team from Aspen Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville have truly embraced Mandela Day as an initiative that is not limited to 18 July each year. They hosted a number of activities that started in November 2015 and ran through to June 2015 in partnership seven beneficiaries, namely Métropole Rouen Normandie, Lions Club Rouen Drakkar, Association des paralysés de France, Blouses Roses, Restos du Coeur, Cardère and Banque Alimentaire.
Significant support was provided to the Restos du Cœur by collecting funds in lieu of gift wrapping in toy shops over the Christmas. The collections were use to help destitute people in need of food, clothes and shelter.
The team contributed to the preservation of the planet through Cardere and Métropole Rouen Normandie by improving the local natural environment. To this end work was done help was provided for waste collation, uprooting and removing invasive plant species and restoring the natural area.
Support for the Lion’s Club was through the Rouen hospital to the benefit of cancer research. In April 2015 Aspen assisted in raising funds to buy medical equipment by selling fresh cut flowers at the hospital and at the entrance to supermarkets.
The local environment at the hospital was also cleared up and funds were raised in association with Blouses Rose to decorate the wards for children who were hospitalized over the Christmas period.
In a separate initiative food parcels were collected and distributed to people with disabilities in November and also in April together with Banque alimentaire organisation.
Aspen employees endorsed the needs of the handicapped residents of Association des paralysés de France by participating in demonstrations to create awareness of the lack of accessibility for wheelchairs in in Normandy. These needs were also addressed with local authorities. Time was also spent playing games with disabled children, many who are wheelchair bound and who don’t have the freedom of movement that their peers do.
The team continues to demonstrate their commitment to creating a better environment and quality of life for those who are less fortunate. This supports the core sentiment of the initiative, which challenges us all to reach out to those in need every day and not only on Mandela Day.