11

Mar
2011

KLM AirCares: inspiring projects, inspiring people

If you fly around the entire world you get profoundly impressed. Nature, culture or just people themselves can inspire you greatly. Unfortunately you also see the negative sides of life. And that’s why a lot of ‘flying’ KLM staff are committed to contributing something to local development at their destinations. They do this through Wings of Support, which helps children to find shelter and education. The volunteers at Luchtvaart Zonder Grenzen (Aviation Without Borders) arrange freight transport or accompany sick children who have to undergo a life-saving operation that cannot be performed in their own country.

Personally, I’m desk-bound and so I’m not able to contribute directly. But fortunately there is always KLM AirCares. This charity programme has been in existence for more than 10 years now. And the reason for its existence is that we think big companies should take responsibility.

KLM AirCares supports charities that are undertaking sustainable projects. We choose them on the basis of the local needs in the destinations that we fly to. The support is intended to kick-start initiatives that make a structural contribution to improving the lives of children.

Over the years, we have lent our support to some great projects but it’s primarily the people behind the projects who inspire me. They are unbelievably motivated and know how to make a real difference with few resources and a load of creativity. I keep an exact record of how many Miles and how much money our passengers donate – and I get a real kick when records are broken. But perhaps I get the best feeling when we can involve our colleagues as well as our passengers through this charity work. This may be by bringing big problems to their attention or making them aware how these same big problems also affect them personally.

For example, when we supported Malaria No More, we ran a campaign for protecting our ‘flying’ colleagues effectively against malaria. But employees of Malaria No More also told us how poor people in remote areas are particularly badly affected. They can’t afford a mosquito net and also have no access to medical facilities.
Mentioning this fact, we sold impregnated mosquito nets through KLM Health Services and then donated part of the profits to Malaria No More. I think that sort of campaign is great.

There are countless other examples of amazing initiatives. At the moment we are giving a boost to Doctor2Doctor. This project, which is run by the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam, is helping to increase the know-how of doctors and nurses in Eldoret, Kenya.
And if you want to read more about this, you can at klm.com.

Jaap
KLM CSR office

AirCares