Early on the CMA CGM Group wanted to share its success with those who really need it to come to their aid, namely children and adolescents. The project has been driven by Naïla Saadé, wife of the Group’s Chairman and founder Jacques Saadé. She has been its president since the CMA CGM Corporate Foundation was set up in 2005.
The CMA CGM Corporate Foundation objectives
From the start the Foundation decided to support projects where the aim is either to encourage the personal development of children with a disability, improve the daily lives of children with serious illnesses or promote equal opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The CMA CGM Foundation’s actions are focused mainly in the south of France and Lebanon, but can extend much further afield as we will see later.
Since its creation, the CMA CGM Foundation has directly supported 85 projects and every year awards its Foundation Prize to an initiative in France and one in Lebanon.
In Marseilles, the CMA CGM Corporate Foundation wished to recognise the innovative work of the association Arts et Développement which, for the last 24 years, has been running creative workshops in public places in Marseilles for the underpriviledged children. There are currently 30 workshops being run in various disadvantaged suburbs, not only in Marseilles but also in Paris and various other regions in France. Run by artists, these street art-residences encourage children to develop their creativity and thereby contribute to restoring a social link in deprived areas. They benefit some 6,000 children per year.
In 2011 for example, the Foundation Prize for France was awarded to a project put forward by a CMA CGM employee, Thierry Bonnetête, who runs an association called Scouts Arc-en-Ciel. This dynamic group gives disabled children a chance to experience the type of adventurous activities that Scouts groups all over the world offer.
That year, the 2011 Prize for Lebanon went to APEG, an association of psychologists offering free consultations to children traumatised by years of conflict or who are victims of abuse. In Lebanon, the Foundation also supported the Alpha Association, helping fund a library bus giving children access to reading material, and a Lebanese association for the blind and hard of hearing (Non-Voyants et Malentendants) in Baabda.
In 2012, in Lebanon, the CMA CGM Corporate Foundation rewards the Association pour le Foyer de l’Enfant Libanais- Lebanese child home association, which for 36 years has been helping disadvantaged children as well as victims of abuse, ensuring their cultural development and their professional training, and helping families take responsability for their social reintegration. AFEL’s multi-disciplinary teams provide support to more than 500 children a year.
Ambitious projects, in France and in the World
In 2012, the CMA CGM Foundation launched two major projects.
Marseille, it was involved in setting up EMA (Espace Méditerranéen de l’Adolescence), initiated by child psychiatrist Marcel Rufo and managed by Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Marseille.
This new facility offers a multi-disciplinary approach to treating adolescents in hospital, taking into account all aspects of their care including the psychological, families, relationships and education. The cultural centre equipped by the Foundation will play an integral role in their treatment plan, by providing them with cultural and sports activities to express themselves. They will also have access to a media-library, music room, sports and dance hall, a ‘textiles library’, art rooms and even a radio station.
he Foundation’s second big project in 2012 is directly linked to the Group’s core business. This latest initiative supports the work of two big French NGOs for a year in Africa, with the Foundation working alongside Action Contre la Faim / Action Against Hunger and Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders, through Operation Containers of Hope.
The NGOs are being offered free shipment of 100 containers provided by CMA CGM full of provisions such as nutritional supplements, vaccines and medical supplies for children and their families, destined for programs in Africa. In all 1,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid will have been transported to meet the basic needs of those most affected by malnutrition or lack of health facilities.
The first programs to benefit are:
- Somalia (Mogadishu): in the fight against malnutrition in children
- Kenya (Mathare and Homa Bay): caring for those with HIV-AIDS and combatting tuberculosis (MSF)
- Congo Brazzaville (Betou): extension to hospital facilities (MSF)
- Liberia (Lofa region): giving access to water, hygiene and sanitation facilities (ACF).
A cultural involvement
Lastly, given that “artists manage to convey messages of peace and establish bridges between people and cultures”, Naïla Saadé and her team remain committed to sponsoring cultural events. That’s why the Foundation continues to support the Baalbeck Festival in Lebanon, as well as the piano festival in Roque d’Anthéron and the opera festival in Aix-en-Provence which arranges socio-educational programs to introduce children to the world of opera.
Like CMA CGM, the Foundation is more dynamic and proactive than ever. True to its mission, it continues to work to improve the lives of children on both sides of the Mediterranean, while the growing involvement of Group employees in voluntary work is another source of satisfaction and motivation.