During their volunteering activities, our employees dedicate themselves to their fellow human beings and the environment.
The first week of May 2023 was devoted to Erich Kästner’s saying, “Actions speak louder than words”. Helsana heeded Coop’s call for a Day of Good Deeds. We then decided to support different organisations over six consecutive days instead of just one. Around 70 employees signed up to volunteer with the likes of Caritas, the Swiss Red Cross, Hof Narr, Pro Infirmis and WWF around the country.
The highlights included the Volunteering Day at Velafrica. Together, we repaired donated bikes that would then be sent to Africa to provide the local population with an eco-friendly, healthy mobility solution. “Swapping places” with the Züriwerk foundation that employs people with cognitive disorders was another highlight. Helsana employees swapped their office role for a job in Züriwerk’s production department for a day. They were extremely impressed by the cheerful, open and direct approach of the Züriwerk staff. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing these Days of Good Deeds and would like to thank everyone involved for these fantastic experiences, along with the organisations.
Pigs, goats, chickens, horses and many other creatures find their second home and get to live out the rest of their lives on the Narr Farm in the village of Egg (Canton of Zurich). The farm is open to visitors of all ages and offers exciting insights into the ethics of animal husbandry, sustainability and vegan nutrition. Visitors can also get close to the animals – for example, by snuggling up to fully grown pigs in the straw or petting a chicken.
There is, however, always plenty of work to do on such a large farm, with over 170 animals, adjacent farmland and its own market garden. On two occasions, in May and September 2022, 30 Helsana employees had the opportunity to make a small but very enthusiastic contribution to those daily activities on the Narr Farm. In return, they were able to take home memories of fascinating encounters with the animals and plenty of newly acquired knowledge about animals and agriculture.
Rubbish continues to pile up on the banks of Lake Zurich, and the majority of it is plastic. According to a study conducted by Empa, around 115 tonnes of plastic end up in Swiss lakes and rivers every year. The beautiful swimming spot, which is an important habitat for animals and plants, is turning into a rubbish dump. In the worst case scenario, the microplastics from the lake end up in the world’s oceans via the rivers. In September 2021, twelve motivated Helsana employees from different departments spent an afternoon volunteering and collected 10 kgs of rubbish – either directly from the banks or on a standup paddleboard in order to reach the areas of the banks that are not accessible from land.
There are a number of tasks involved in the upkeep of an Alpine farm, especially during the summer months. Among other things, these include taking care of the animals, harvesting hay and maintaining the pastures. In June 2020, ten employees visited the von Rickenbach family farm located in Heiterenboden on Mount Rigi.
Because of their age, the farmer’s parents could only help out to a limited extent, and one of his three sons has a disability that makes it difficult for him to walk. So the assistance provided by the volunteers was a huge relief for the family. They helped the farmers with pasture maintenance. Some collected stones, others removed thistles and others trimmed bushes and branches.
The BirdLife Nature Reserve in Neerach in the Canton of Zurich provides space for a number of animals and plants. However, indigenous plants are increasingly being crowded out by non-native species, known as neophytes. Without protective measures, plants that are less adept at competition run the risk of disappearing completely over time.
That’s why sixteen Helsana employees volunteered in August 2020 to help weed out these neophytes. By doing so, they made a valuable contribution to maintaining native plant species.
In July 2019, more than two dozen employees met with the residents of the Limmat retirement centre in Zurich. Together, they walked to the barbecue area at the nearby Josefwiese park and spent several enjoyable hours together. Outings of this sort are very good for the seniors – but it takes a lot of effort to care for the residents on the trips and therefore they occur far too infrequently.
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