School bells instead of air raid sirens
Ramadi is the capital of al-Albar province, and holds the sad distinction of being the most damaged city in Iraq. Restoring destroyed and damaged school buildings requires considerable financial resources and dedicated people on the ground.
The ICRC is working hard to contribute to the restoration of the educational infrastructure. Geoff Loane, educational advisor to the ICRC, emphasizes the importance of school attendance for children. "Kids want to leave the house in the morning and go to do something meaningful. Going to school gives them an identity, a future." Parents too want to ensure their kids have a bright future, and will otherwise seek to leave their homeland.
In support of a good cause: colorful mugs
Vontobel is conducting a range of activities in favor of the ICRC school project in Iraq.
- Vontobel launches a colorful initiative: employees have the opportunity to buy a mug for 20 francs in one of the company’s four corporate colors. These amounts go in full to the ICRC.
- Many employees are additionally donating to the project separately, and Vontobel is matching their donations to the ICRC.
- For every Christmas card sent out, Vontobel transfers a donation amount to the ICRC.
Protracted conflicts require new solutions from the ICRC
Restoring schools in Ramadi is an example of how fundamentally the ICRC has evolved in its mission. Many modern conflicts last extremely long, or end with a political solution that fails to bring lasting peace. Ramadi, for example, was in the crossfire of various warring parties for 13 years: from 2003 to 2016. Ramadi is located in a region that is still considered unstable
The ICRC needs to develop solutions to these new challenges. This is why, as ICRC President Peter Maurer explains, the humanitarian organization no longer exclusively deploys in acute crises. The focus has shifted to long-term initiatives like the project to restore Iraqi schools. It is important to address structural problems in cooperation with governments, NGOs, and businesses.
Vontobel is a member of the ICRC Corporate Support Group
Selected Swiss companies founded the ICRC Corporate Support Group in order to provide long-term support for the ICRC’s new challenges. Vontobel has been a member since 2005. As part of this membership, we launched our internal ICRC fundraising initiative in 2015, and every year since then we have supported an ICRC donation project, selected together with the ICRC.
You can find more information about the ICRC Corporate Support Group here.