How Christine used her Talent for Good
About Community Week
Since 2012, every year during the second week of September, hundreds of J&J employees in Switzerland come together to participate in creating positive change in our local communities. Community Week is the largest Talent for Good program in Switzerland, where our employees engage in various activities ranging from visiting elderly homes to cleaning up the forests and supporting refugees in entering the Swiss job market. The projects are planned and organized by employees at the participating sites and typically in collaboration with organizations located in the near proximity, making it an initiative with a very direct impact in the local communities.
Supporting and strengthening our local communities is an essential part of our Credo and who we are as a company. Despite the many challenges which came along with the 2020 global pandemic, last year during Community Week we were able to carry out over 30 projects with more than 400 J&J volunteers across 8 sites. This year, we are aiming for an even greater participation with a mix of face to face and virtual projects, always with the safety of the beneficiaries and our employees as a top priority.
Christine Laesser works as a Warehouse Specialist in Schaffhausen, and since 2015 she has been leading her own project during Community Week. The project is in collaboration with Mama Lernt Deutsch, a non-profit organization that provides German lessons to migrant women. It is often more difficult for women with migrant backgrounds to integrate in the Swiss community as they tend to be kept busy with family life or other cultural restrictions. Mama Lernt Deutsch, a women support group with a mix of Swiss native women, teachers, and migrant women, aims to address this by getting together, exchanging experiences and, as such, both giving the migrant women a platform to improve the German language and to get a better understanding of life in Switzerland.
The Community Week project with Mama Lernt Deutsch is one of the more long-standing and popular ones, proven by the fact that the majority of the J&J participants often take part year after year. Christine participated for three years before taking over as the project leader and since then she is managing the planning and organization of the yearly Community Week event. “Having been part of the project for many years, for me it is really touching to see the progress and the happiness that the group provides to these women. For them, it is a way to feel independent and part of the local community. I want to give them that feeling. This is my motivation.”
Over the years, Christine has built strong relationships with the migrant women. She has seen how each year the women grew more comfortable and confident, not only in their language abilities but also being part of the Swiss community. But it is not just the migrant women that are gaining from the exchange and from making new friends. “I feel that this exchange of cultures opens your mind to the realization that we are all just human. By interacting with these women and helping them integrate in our community, I have learnt a lot about myself while contributing to a more inclusive society.”
Click here to watch Christine’s video: