Every winter, the Volvo Group makes a series of donations on behalf of all employees to projects and organizations around the world. The aim is to make a difference, improve quality of life and provide opportunities for people who really need it. This initiative, founded in 2016, is known as the Volvo Group Seasonal Gift.
To decide which organizations receive the Seasonal Gift, a theme is chosen – one which addresses the challenges that currently affect society. Projects that tackle these challenges are eligible for the Seasonal Gift and nominated by country: those which are deemed most suitable then receive a donation.
In 2021, the theme for the Seasonal Gift was support for vulnerable children and youths, with a particular focus on girls and young women. This is a section of society that has been affected very badly by the ongoing pandemic, in a number of ways – including disruption to their education and training caused by lockdowns, distance learning and social distancing.
It has been estimated, for example, that up to 101 million children fell behind in terms of reading proficiency in 2020. There’s also been a profound effect on employment prospects for young people; according to the WHO, youth employment fell by 8.7%, compared to a drop of 3.7% for adults. And there’s also a series of unique challenges for girls and young women – who are particularly vulnerable to issues like child marriage and domestic violence as a result of the changes that the pandemic has brought.
Fortunately, a series of projects and initiatives have been started to help with these challenges, and eight of them were selected by a committee of employee representatives along with President and CEO Martin Lundstedt to receive this year’s Seasonal Gift. They were:
The idea is to approach donation from a “think global, act local” standpoint, and as such the Seasonal Gift often has an immediate, obvious effect – actively improving things for local communities.
Previous recipients have included the Kechara Soup Kitchen Society – which donates food and first aid supplies to the poor and vulnerable in Malaysia – and Iron Women, a heavy-duty driving school for women in South Africa that offers truck driver training. More on previous initiatives can be found here.