Women power in action
Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity since 2004, whether by donating a refrigerator or washing machine to the new house or providing funds to help build them. Whirlpool EMEA’s employees also volunteer on home construction projects to make life better for thousands of low-income families across the region. Many of these volunteers are women who come to help other women.
The long-term partnership has helped more than 75,000 families since 2004. More than 1,000 employees from Whirlpool have contributed their time and efforts to make affordable housing possible.
“Every year, more and more people hear about the fun and fulfillment experienced by colleagues on Habitat builds and they too want to take part. In 2013 we are sending volunteers to builds in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland. They will be building homes alongside the future homeowners – to celebrate, support and give back to the communities where we work,” said Esther Berrozpe Galindo, president of Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Helping single mother in Hungary
In June 2013 Whirlpool sent 29 employees from factories and branches in 10 countries to Dunakeszi, on the outskirts of Budapest. They worked for three days to renovate homes for a single mother Zsofia, who is taking care of four children. The project was to upgrade her home to make it energy efficient, helping her family save on their monthly energy bills.
In Hungary, low energy efficiency is one of the biggest housing problems. Families often spend more than 25 percent of their income on heating. More than 1 million people live in households that cannot be properly heated during the winter. Habitat’s projects offer loans and volunteer labor to renovate homes, thanks in large part to the generous support of Whirlpool.
Throughout the partnership, helping women in need has been one of the priorities of Whirlpool´s volunteer efforts. In 2005, the first women-only team of volunteers came from Whirlpool sites across the region to build homes in partnership with women in need of a decent place to live. The first woman-focused initiative in Armenia was followed by one in Kyrgyzstan and another one in Poland over the next two years.
In June 2010, a women-only team worked to lay a foundation for the new building of an autistic home in Miskolc, Hungary. The home has been operating since 1996 and now. It accommodates nearly 40 patients and provides daily services to an additional 15. There are almost 1,000 autistic people in the county, and the Miskolc Autistic Home is the only institute that can accommodate them.
Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa has leveraged other corporate relationships to help Habitat projects. The Whirlpool sponsorship of the Women’s Tennis Association led to the adoption of Habitat for Humanity as the official European cause for the WTA Tour from 2005 to 2008.