DHL Express Canada announced on July 17, 2012 a global partnership with Free the Children, an international charity and educational partner, and Me to We, an innovative social enterprise that exists to support the work of its charitable partner, Free the Children, including donating half of its net profit. Through the unique partnership, DHL will provide free shipping services, storage and support for several of Free the Children and Me to We's programs.
In the 17 years since its foundation, Free the Children has grown into the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than 3,500 schools involved in programming domestically, as well as development work that has brought holistic and sustainable infrastructure to countries overseas. To date, Free the Children has shipped more than $16 million worth of medical supplies to countries in need around the world. The new DHL Express partnership will alleviate shipping costs, enabling Free the Children to reinvest these savings into services for communities in need and other charity programs and initiatives.
DHL will also ship medical supplies that Free the Children receives as donations to various international countries it works in, in particular to its Baraka healthcare centre in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. Further, to aid Free the Children with preparations for its signature national youth empowerment event, We Day, DHL will assist with cross-Canada shipments of supplies on a yearly basis, transporting items including gift bags, books and signage, decor and print media.
"It is our philosophy that good partners make good people, and a partnership with Free the Children aligns with DHL's mission to be a socially conscious company," said Greg Hewitt, president of DHL Express (Canada), Ltd. "This partnership enables us to help an important charity that makes a significant impact on children and families across the globe, and we are proud to be part of this great enterprise in furthering social change and supporting the spirit of entrepreneurship -- something this company was also started on."
"We are extremely grateful to DHL Express Canada for supporting our work in such a momentous way, and are thankful to have access to such extensive global business knowledge," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children and Me to We. "As a not for profit organization we strive to keep our costs as low as possible, so that every penny donated by our supporters can be used to benefit the communities we work with. We foresee this partnership not only allowing us to better service the countries we already operate in, but to expand our work to other countries in need."
The partnership will also support Me to We's Artisans program. With the goal of bringing an alternative income source to women in Free the Children communities, the Artisans program gives more than 550 Maasai mamas a market for their traditional beadwork, while allowing them to support their families and gain access to financial literacy training. Me to We currently ships 150kg of products from Nairobi, Kenya to Toronto, Canada every two weeks. DHL will assist with shipping the products to corporate and individual customers in Canada, absorbing the cost of shipping the items; enabling the mamas to make more money and helping them connect to a greater market.
DHL Canada is integrating support for the new partnership and the charity into its employee engagement strategy, and launching a multi-faceted program which makes it easy for employees and their families to directly participate in Free the Children initiatives.
DHL employees were the driving force behind the Free the Children partnership, indicating in a company-wide survey the desire to partner with a Canadian partner focused on Global issues, specifically issues with children. In return for their dedication and support, Free the Children will start programs for the children of DHL employees, allowing them to benefit from the local and international leadership experiences offered through the charity. There will be five youth academy scholarships available for employee children and opportunities for youth volunteer trips to Kenya, as well as family workshops and a We Day volunteer program.