Mondi has been named the winner of the Trigos Special Award 2010. The subject of this year’s prize was ‘Action against poverty and social discrimination’. Mondi was selected in recognition of its ‘Integration through education’ projects conducted together with Caritas.

2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. A close link exists between education, poverty and integration: a good command of language and a well-founded education facilitate social integration and improve the chances of success in later life.

This year for the first time, Mondi submitted the ‘Integration through education’ projects, realised in cooperation with Caritas, to the awards jury. After examining the 166 nominated projects, the jury singled out Mondi for the Trigos Special Award. It explained its decision as follows: “The Mondi project takes effective action to prevent poverty and social exclusion at an early stage. Through elementary and enhanced education programmes in study centres, working with parents and developing social skills, it cultivates the ability of disadvantaged young people to become integrated and achieve social recognition. Mondi has identified education as an effective means of preventing poverty and unemployment, and delivered learning programmes in three exemplary projects in collaboration with Caritas and its own committed employees. By selecting the Mondi project for the Special Award, the jury is highlighting the acute problem that poverty represents in Austria, as elsewhere, and illustrating that businesses can tackle it in an effective and professional manner.”

In response, Peter J Oswald, CEO Mondi Europe & International, commented: “Corporate social responsibility is a cornerstone of our business philosophy. We regard it as part of our responsibility to contribute to equality of opportunity and the sustainable development of society.”

Three Caritas projects in Austria are offering professional study support to children and teenagers from socially disadvantaged families – predominantly from the migrant community. The projects also work with parents and focus on social skills, to enable the youngsters to integrate more easily, give them equal access to education in the future and ease their way into the labour market.

*peppa centre for girls

The *peppa centre in the Ottakring district of Vienna is an international centre for girls and young women aged between 10 and 20, especially those from migrant backgrounds. It provides a safe environment in which they can engage together in leisure activities and creative workshops, take advantage of support and advice on a variety of personal issues and problems, including employment and learning, and participate in an intercultural dialogue.

Mondi Knittelfeld study centre

The main aim of the Mondi Knittelfeld study centre is to offer study support and German language tuition, targeted schooling and lessons in preparation for tests, to children in the 6-15 age group, and to infuse in them an enjoyment for learning. It also provides afternoon care sessions that promote a sense of community, physical awareness and child development.

‘Rückenwind’ integration project in Amstetten

Rather like the study centre, the ‘Rückenwind’ project in Amstetten offers holistic, comprehensive and social learning support for disadvantaged schoolchildren from migrant backgrounds. Its capacity is two groups of no more than 12 children each in the age range from 10 to 15. Alongside traditional teaching, the project fosters social skills, focusing on tolerance, non-violence and mutual respect, with a view to enhancing the youngsters’ ability to enter employment or further education.

The cooperation with Caritas has also made Mondi’s own employees more aware of issues concerning integration and social exclusion. As Albert Klinkhammer, marketing and communication director, Mondi Europe & International, explains, “Mondi translates social responsibility into practice. The close affinity that now exists with the projects stems not only from their proximity to our sites. The employees’ participation and their willingness to engage in the projects have been outstanding and surpassed our expectations. We can therefore look to the future with great optimism and motivation, and will soon be launching a fourth project in cooperation with Caritas. The Trigos award gives our employees a further incentive to play an active part in this project as well.”

The Mondi Wolfsberg study centre in the federal state of Carinthia is expected to open in the fall. It will offer free afternoon care for all 8-year-old schoolchildren from the start of the 2010/11 academic year.