Röchling Foundation
Consistently Responsible 

Simply getting closer to people and their needs – this is a fundamental principle of the Röchling Foundation. “Simply closer” also refers to the relationship between the foundation’s Board of Trustees and the organizations supported: each project is overseen by a member of the Board of Trustees, who acts as a sponsor.

One example of this extraordinary cooperation in the foundation sector is the trauma support provided for children. The Röchling Foundation supports an initiative of the Bavarian Red Cross that provides advanced training in the area of trauma pedagogy free of charge to teaching staff in nurseries and day-care facilities. The initiative helps these workers to respond competently to the special needs of traumatized refugee children.

People who have found refuge in Germany have escaped war, displacement and hunger only in physical terms to begin with. Mentally, these people – including many children – have to contend with post-traumatic consequences of the atrocities they have experienced. Staff in local care facilities are often unprepared for this.

“Traumatized children have an urgent need for care and accommo­dation where they feel protected and safe so that they can begin to process their horrific experiences,” says Regina Michaelis-Braun, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Röchling Foundation. She oversees the project as a sponsor and knows how important the appropriate pedagogical care is when it comes to emotional healing – it thus represents the opportunity for traumatized children to integrate in their new surroundings.

Children who have experienced war and violence are generally extremely fearful, sad, nervous, aggressive or completely withdrawn. Even physical symptoms such as insomnia, stomach aches, loss of appetite and headaches are not uncommon. “In the absence of professional treatment, highly stressed children are incapable of forming healthy relationships and experience a lack of understanding in social interactions,” explains sponsor Michaelis-Braun. “The more their sense of stability, emotional resilience and self-control over feelings are restored, the better the children are able to acquire a new language. This language acquisition is extremely important to enable them to adapt to a new and completely different culture and environment. This also relieves the burden on the supporting society.”

Day-care facilities in particular play an important role in helping families with a migrant background to settle in and integrate. They provide the children with a structured environment, stability, confidence and a feeling of security. In many cases, they are also the children’s first contact with the German language and culture. The earlier traumatized children are supported in their healing process, the sooner they will have the opportunity for a healthy and happy childhood.

Targeted Boosting of Multipliers
This is why the Röchling Foundation is supporting this ­qualification initiative of the Bavarian Red Cross in two projects with three ­advanced training courses each and is investing a total of 120,000 euros.

The example illustrates the strategy of the Röchling Foundation. By boosting the expertise of multipliers in a targeted manner – in this case, the teaching staff in nurseries and day-care facilities – the foundation aims to change the structures, thereby bringing about a lasting improvement in the opportunities for disadvantaged people. The Röchling Foundation advocates the areas of plastics and the ­environment as well as involvement and competence. It is also equally committed to supporting individual advanced and further training measures as well as interdisciplinary scientific platforms – it takes part in the public discourse, be it in the form of publications, panel discussions, dialogues or research projects.

The sponsorship model – that is, the partner-like support for the projects by a member of the foundation’s trustee committee – benefits both sides. The foundation gains a better insight into the project work while the supported organizations can expect advice and assistance at all times, in addition to the financial donation. In a nutshell: “simply closer.”

Close to People and Their Needs
This modern principle is founded on a long tradition. For the Röchling family, corporate responsibility has always included a sense of duty to society. As far back as the 19th century, the entrepreneurial family initiated a range of social projects including the provision of infant welfare, a day-care facility for children and affordable accommodation for its employees and their families. Listening to the concerns of employees and the population at the company locations, sharing in their experiences – being close to people and their needs: the Röchling Foundation continues this work today with its projects and sponsorship model.