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Taking time to give a little back

Published on  19 December by Amber Harrison , Director, Corporate Social Responsibility , SITA
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The end of the year is traditionally a time for reflection on the achievements and contributions made over the previous 12 months. Each of us has goals in mind at the start of the year - getting to the gym more, learning a new language, or visiting new countries. For a lot of the communities where SITA operates, the hopes and aims are often simpler. A hope for enough food to feed their families, basic home, health and safety needs, or finding the funding needed for a charity providing essential services.

Serving our local communities

As a responsible business, SITA believes it's our duty to help these local communities. Through our Value in Volunteering Action program (SITA VIVA) we give all employees a paid volunteer day, and encourage them to use it. The needs in each location vary, so our local charity committees identify where help is required. Since we started the program in 2011, we've seen volunteering in 20 countries, over 100 activities have been logged, and around 600 volunteering days taken.

The range of work undertaken by our people is inspiring. Food collection, preparing and portioning has helped families and orphanages in the US, Canada, UK, Switzerland, Australia, India and Brazil, while nature projects have taken place in Australia, Jordan, Beirut, UK, Singapore and Switzerland. VIVA volunteers have visited schools, orphanages and old people's homes, and raised money through raffles, auctions, bake sales and collections. They have built homes, donated blood, cycled, and freely given their time. And in Montreal employees have donated over CAD$100,000 to Centraide since 2001.

Humanitarian efforts

We've also provided support for relief efforts. Following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, SITA made a donation of $50,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). An additional $27,650 was donated on behalf of respondents to our Airline and Airport IT Trends, and SITA brand surveys, and in lieu of printing Christmas cards.

Our people have given too. In Dubai the office raised money for the Philippines, SITA employees in Kenya joined the many who donated blood following the terrible events in Nairobi, and a team in Mexico supported the Red Cross preparing hurricane relief shipments.

As a business, SITA has a role to play in supporting growth in the areas where we operate, and also to encourage our people to participate in the communities through volunteering. I'm hugely proud of what our people achieve through VIVA, and believe that together, we really can make a difference.

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