International Development Projects and Disaster Relief – Asia Pacific
With the donation funds raised during the BASF Christmas Donation Campaign 2019, BASF Stiftung supports a UNICEF project for Rohingya refugee adolescents in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Since 2017, more than 900,000 Rohingya have been living in refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar border region of Bangladesh. More than half of the refugees are children and adolescents. They rely on humanitarian aid and are at risk of violence, abuse and human trafficking.
The project allows youth centers to be set up in the refugee camps where the boys and girls can participate in educational and recreational opportunities. In addition, in an educational scheme designed by UNICEF, the adolescents are taught about topics such as health and hygiene, HIV, AIDS, drugs, child labor and human trafficking. The project also aims to teach practical skills such as sewing and handicrafts, how to produce and repair solar modules, and soap production in the youth centers in order to boost the adolescents’ skills and development opportunities.
Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. Many Bangladeshis have never been to school and work as day laborers in the field. The government in 1993 introduced compulsory education, so that the enrollment rate has risen to over 90 percent. However, not all children regularly attend school and complete primary school. The Nilphamari and Rangpur region is one of the poorest in Bangladesh. Some 15,000 children aged between 6 and 14 do not participate in school, because they have to work to contribute to the family’s income or they have to deal with long distances to school.
In the two districts, Nilphamari and Rangpur, World Vision conducts a project where comprehensive help for self-help, mainly in the areas of income generation and health is achieved. For example, BASF Stiftung promotes the establishment of 20 training centers for working children of primary school age, and the training of assistants to teachers. 1,000 households with working children receive an endowment so that families can create another source of income and are no longer dependent on the child's income.
On November 15, 2007, Cyclone Sidr destroyed large areas of southern Bangladesh. It is estimated that a total of nine million people were affected, 4,000 people lost their lives, and many were injured.
The destruction of hundreds of school buildings has often made a return to normal life and the education of children and young people impossible.
To provide long-term aid, the BASF Stiftung, in cooperation with UN-HABITAT, decided to restore and modernize a school. Since the Subid Khali School is part of a historic complex established in 1934, a traditional frame structure of columns, beams and brick walls was used in construction. After the first and second floors had been built, a follow-up project added a third floor to the building. With 1,500 pupils, the school serves a catchment area of 65,000 people. The building also functions as a community center and will provide shelter in the event of future cyclones. The ground floor has been kept open to minimize potential flood damage.
In China the quality of school education varies widely across the country. In particular, many schools in rural areas such as Liangshan and Ya´an (Sichuan province), which are regularly affected by natural catastrophes, are struggling to offer their students a good education.
The school infrastructure is in need of substantial improvement, the size of school buildings is limited and there is a lack of suitable teaching materials and qualified staff. Therefore students from these rural areas often have the lowest scores in comparative educational studies on a national and regional level. The aim of the program run by Save the Children, which is supported by BASF Stiftung, a charitable foundation based in Ludwigshafen, is to improve the quality of education and access to schools for around 10,000 children in rural areas over a period of three years. For instance, teachers and head teachers are being trained in didactic and management methods and traumatized children are being given psychological and social support. Teachers are also being trained to be able to deal more effectively with the posteffects of the natural catastrophes that often occur.
In 2008, a devastating earthquake in central China destroyed a vast number of buildings. Around 5.8 million people lost their homes, sick people lost their medical care centers, children and teachers lost their schools.
BASF and its employees supported the victims of the China earthquake by giving donations to the BASF Stiftung, which, together with UN-HABITAT, financed the erection of large, sturdy tents to provide affected people with shelter and medical care. Local workers manufactured the tents from locally available materials. After putting up the tents, they received their first income after the disaster. Long-term aid was devoted particularly to the reconstruction of a school in Yongquan village. During construction, special attention was paid to the building's earthquake safety to ensure that it would not be destroyed by future quakes.
In April 2013, Sichuan province was hit by a strong earthquake. The school in Yongquan village is located less than 15 km from the epicenter. But this time it survived with little damage. With the support provided by BASF Stiftung, a charitable foundation based in Ludwigshafen, UN-Habitat was able to perform the necessary repairs (e.g. toilets and fences) in the outdoor area and to mend the few cracks that had appeared to prevent weather damage of the school building.
Cambodia is one of the world's poorest countries. Nearly 40% of children drop out of school before the sixth grade to contribute to the family income by working or begging. To break the cycle of hunger, poverty and lack of education, the BASF Stiftung supported the school meal program of the UN World Food Programme. BASF and its employees donated to the BASF Stiftung for this purpose in the 2012 Christmas fundraising campaign.
Pupils in the Cambodian preschools and primary schools involved receive a nourishing meal every day. This alone motivates parents to send their children to school regularly. The girls and boys are also given supplementary food such as rice or beans to take home to their families. The sustainability of the scheme is ensured by the creation of school gardens, the equipping of the schools with energy-efficient cooking facilities, further training for teachers, and education in all areas of health care, nutrition and hygiene.
Sou Sokhei is one of the best students in class at the Phlong primary school in Pongro Krom commune, Chikreng district, in the province of Siem Reap. This grade 6 student comes to school regularly and placed 3rd in the school year 2012-2013. Her favorite subject is Khmer literature. “In the future, I want to be a teacher in my school”, Sokhei said. When asked why she dreams to be a teacher, she proudly replied “I want the next generations to be well-educated and I want to build human resources in my community”.
Sokhei was born in a poor family. She was keen on studying since she entered her first school year and dreams of continuing onto higher education. Thanks to WFP’s food scholarship programme, she is able to stay in school rather than work in the field.
Sokhei’s mother, Kol Kheoun, is a farmer owning a small hectare of farm land and works as a casual laborer in the nearby villages after the harvesting season, but she does not always make enough money to support the family. As a single parent of two daughters and two sons whose husband died six years ago due to illness, she is very dedicated to send her daughters to school and keep them there.
WFP’s food scholarship programme really plays a vital role in releasing financial burden in the family and shaping the life of Sokhei and her sister, Sokhim. Sokhim is 16 years old and now is in grade 9. She also received food scholarship from WFP when she was in grade 4, 5 and 6.
Food scholarship helps to increase family access to food for the entire household. “With a monthly contribution of 10 kg of rice, it keeps me to study even harder”, said Sokhei adding that “we used to feel isolated as we are poor, but after being admitted to the programme, we do not have such a feeling anymore”.
Students in grades 4 to 6 are at the highest risk to drop-out from school especially among girls who will leave their school-age to work in the fields to support the family. Food scholarship is a strong incentive for parents to keep their children in school, said Mom Lagn, Phlong Primary school director. He told the food scholarship students attend school regularly.
“The programme really helps to improve the quality of education in the rural and remote areas”. The drop-out rate has decreased and the attendance rate has increased over the years, emphasized Mom Lagn, adding that "without WFP’s intervention, most girls would have quit their study to help the families”.
WFP’s food scholarship programme started in Phlong Primary school in 2010. The programme is targeted to children from poor households in grade 4, 5 and 6 to improve access to and quality of education. The scholarship students must attend school regularly.
A project conducted by the BASF Stiftung and UN-HABITAT in the Indian city of Mangalore aims to provide school pupils with clean drinking water. Clean water is a growing challenge for this city of 500,000 people. This applies to both access and use.
The BASF Stiftung is therefore supporting a project that will supply clean water to approx. 5,000 students in 25 schools as well as the surrounding communities and at the same time teach the importance of drinking water.
Furthermore, at eight of the 25 schools, "water laboratories" are being set up, where pupils will learn to test the quality of the water. Two other schools are being equipped with "water classrooms", where pupils will follow the water cycle and learn water conservation methods. Some of the schools will also receive "water test kits" that will be used to check the water quality in the communities.
The disastrous tsunami that destroyed large parts of South-East Asia in 2004 also struck the east coast of India, causing serious damage. One region that was particularly hard hit was Cuddalore in the south-east of the country. Although relief programs have already been carried out there, they have not brought any permanent improvement in the situation.
The BASF Stiftung therefore decided to support long-term reconstruction measures. Combined fundraising for BASF Stiftung by BASF and its employees led to a project in cooperation with UN-HABITAT that has given 13,000 people access to clean drinking water and functioning sewage systems. Hand water pumps were installed, sewage pipes laid or restored, and sanitary facilities built in schools. Special consideration was given to the needs of girls and disabled children, since these groups are otherwise frequently unable to attend school.
The BASF Stiftung supported a UNICEF project with donations from the 2007 Christmas fundraising campaign. The campaign has allowed the distribution of vitamin A syrup in India, preventing serious deficiency symptoms in children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in developing countries 40 to 60% of children under five suffer from vitamin A deficiency.
Since the human body cannot synthesize vitamin A, it must be supplied through the diet. However, many people in emerging and developing countries cannot afford sufficient quantities of vitamin-A-rich foods such as fish and meat, or have no supply source.
In August 2008, a breach in a dam caused the Koshi River located on the border between Nepal and India to overflow its banks and flood areas in Sunsari and Saptari (Nepal) and in the state of Bihar (India). More than three million people were affected and lost their homes, crops and sources of income.
The BASF Stiftung, together with UN-HABITAT, is supporting reconstruction work. The construction of water treatment plants and sewage systems were supported to provide access to clean drinking water. In addition, communities have been trained to maintain the facilities themselves. The BASF Stiftung has also sponsored further training in water management and hygiene. A total of about 2,200 people have benefited from the project.
UNESCO Japan, 2011, 2012
University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, 2013
UNESCO Japan, 2014
The earthquake of March 11, 2011, and the tsunami destroyed an area of around 560 square kilometers. More than 20,000 people were reported missing or dead. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes and lived in emergency accommodations. The BASF Stiftung provided immediate assistance by donating to the Central Community Chest of Japan, a non-profit relief agency that coordinated aid after the disaster.
In addition, BASF and its employees supported various projects of the BASF Stiftung in cooperation with UNESCO and other partners:
1. Bringing Back Smiles: The project provides medium- to long-term help to Japanese primary to junior high school pupils who have been affected by the disaster, to their parents and teachers. Psychosocial activities assist with trauma recovery, and training sessions prepare for future disasters and reduce their risk.
2. As another measure for trauma processing and management BASF Stiftung has supported a project of the Opera Byacco. There, the students have collected new experiences through various artistic approaches and got a perspective for the future.
3. Even though it is two years since the tsunami struck, many children are still living in emergency accommodations. Their education and their daily lives suffer as the result of the lack of space. It is therefore particularly important to build playgrounds and recreation areas and to create places of refuge where children can feel free to talk about their experiences. The destruction of familiar surroundings always leads to a weakening of ties to their home. The aim of the project run by the University of the Sacred Heart and supported by the BASF Stiftung is to help these children to continue to maintain those ties and to prevent migration. Together with neighbors and architects, the children have the opportunity to build these facilities using natural materials to allow them to escape from the stress of everyday life and to strengthen their confidence in themselves.
4. To ensure that children and young people continue their schooling, BASF Stiftung has chosen a scholarship program of UNESCO Japan to support. Due to the financial resources of the BASF Stiftung eight scholarships in the amount of 20,000 yen will be paid to needy students for the next three years.
The high number of refugees continues to challenge the socio-economic situation in Jordan. In 2014, more than 350,000 refugee children and youth lived in Jordan. Only 60 per cent out of the 220,000 school-aged refugees can attend school. The lack of schooling also negatively reflects on the integration of youth in the Jordan society. Therefore, there is a great demand for alternative learning opportunities for out-of-school children.
The BASF Christmas Donation Campaign 2015 in favor of BASF Stiftung supports a UNICEF project which aims at improving the educational situation for children and youth in local communities and refugee camps in Jordan and the integration into the local society.
In order to meet the increased need for learning opportunities, UNICEF develops Child Friendly Spaces into “Makani” learning centers. The learning centers will not only improve the access to education, they will also deliver life-skills training. In addition, psychosocial services help children coming from war to process what they have been through. The centers are not limited to refugee children, they also provide education to vulnerable children living in Jordan. Additionally, the young people can participate in joint projects that will benefit the community. The project therefore supports the integration of refugee children and youth as well as prevents the danger of a “lost generation”. Community based committees promote the understanding between refugees and host communities which builds social cohesion.
In 2015, more than 1.3 million Syrian refugee children and youth lived in crowded accommodations and camps in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. The continuing civil war in their home country has left its marks on the physical and emotional situation of the children. Even though the Jordan government allows every refugee child to participate in public formal education, every second school-aged child in Jordan does not regularly attend school. The main cause for that are circumstances following flight and displacement, which often force children to contribute to the family income.
Aiming to enable Syrian refugee children to access formal education, the BASF Stiftung supports the Cash Assistance Program of the UNO-Fluechtlingshilfe. The project is being implemented by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
Based on findings of UNHCR, the low family income is the main barrier to access education. For this reason, UNHCR conducts need-assessments to identify the most vulnerable Syrian families in Jordan. UNHCR provides these families with financial support through a Cash Assistance Program. The program covers the basic needs of the family, so that children do not have to contribute to the family’s income. At the same time it enables the parents to buy school uniforms, books and pens so that they can attend school. The program gives children, living under harsh circumstances, the chance to escape child labor and to have a self-determined future.
The Syrian conflict has devastating consequences for the children: So far violence and war have forced more than 1.3 Million Syrian boys and girls to flee their homeland. Many of them arrive in the surrounded host countries being disturbed and feeling lost. Every hour there are new refugees arriving at refugee camps in the neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan.
In this situation it is very important to make it possible for Syrian refugee-children to continue their school education and thereby giving them the prospect of a better future. The funds raised during the Christmas Donation Campaign 2013 support UNICEF in implementing education activities for Syrian children in refugee camps in the surrounded countries. BASF and its employees donated to BASF Stiftung for this purpose.
UNICEF establishes additional school classes on the ground, provides psycho-social assistance for traumatized children and hands out basic school supplies. The routine of everyday school life brings back a piece of normality and security in the children’s life.
In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis caused enormous damage in the Ayeyarwady region of Myanmar. More than 2.5 million people were affected.
BASF and its employees supported the victims of this natural disaster together with the BASF Stiftung and UN-HABITAT.
Large, sturdy, multifunctional tents were erected, providing emergency shelter as well as school and sanitation facilities. A special aspect was that the tents were produced by local labor from locally available materials. They also ensured initial provision of a basic income after the disaster. In addition, 22 temporary schools were built, providing education for many years.
On 25th of April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit large parts of Nepal. More than 8.500 people lost their lives; hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from very remote areas.
BASF SE contributed to relief efforts in Nepal by donating to the BASF Stiftung, which supports the disaster relief activities of its partners, WFP and UNICEF.
The funds contribute in providing the most needed basic supplies such as food, drinking water, medical care and sanitary products in large parts of Nepal. These items are important to avoid further aggravation of the situation through the spread of diseases. Additionally, UNICEF creates ‘Child Friendly Spaces’ supporting traumatized children.
Immediately after the flood of October 2010, BASF and its employees in more than 20 countries donated a total of some €785,000 for emergency aid by UN organizations. In addition, BASF Group companies in Pakistan and their employees provided assistance on the ground, for example aid packages containing food, medicines and other urgently needed relief supplies for affected people, and organized distribution centers near BASF sites in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalbad and Sialkot.
Thatta was one of the regions hardest hit by the flood disaster. In the village of Gul Mohammad Gandhro, around 100 fishing families, whose houses had been completely swept away, had lost everything and were living in emergency shelters. The construction of new houses was financed by the Japanese government and BASF Stiftung and carried out by UN-HABITAT with the help of the local community. A donation from BASF SE to the BASF Stiftung contributed to funding the new houses.
Work on new accommodation for the fisher people of Gul Mohammad Gandhro in the Thatta district began in February 2011 and the houses were finally handed over to their new owners at the end of May 2012. The village now has more than 100 permanent homes as well as community facilities such as sanitary facilities and a water tank.
Pakistan's 2008 earthquake was devastating. Hundreds of people lost their lives and thousands were made homeless. As a result, the BASF Stiftung and BASF Pakistan supported their partner UN-HABITAT in the reconstruction of a destroyed primary school in Muzaffarabad, Tariqabad, Pakistan.
In addition to new classrooms, financing included equipping the school with furniture and teaching materials. As the school was being rebuilt, special attention was paid to earthquake safety to minimize the risk of damage from future quakes. At the same time, local workers were made familiar with earthquake-resistant technologies from which other communities can benefit.
On the 8th of November typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines and left 6,000 people dead and 28,000 injured.
Haiyan, also known as Yolanda reached a wind speed of up to 235 km per hour. Therefore, it is one of the most powerful typhoons that have ever been recorded worldwide. It had devastating effects on big parts of the landscapes and carried away human beings, cars and ships. More than one million houses were heavily damaged or completely destroyed.
BASF SE donated to BASF Stiftung in order to help the people affected by the typhoon. BASF Stiftung supports the emergency relief of two international organizations – the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The funds supported several emergency measures on the Philippines, including emergency food supplies, ready-to-use therapeutic food for children, emergency medical kits, water and hygiene packages.
The typhoons Ketsana and Parma in October 2009 caused severe damage in the Philippines. More than 500,000 people were displaced, around 40,000 residential buildings were destroyed or badly damaged and houses, streets, power lines and crops were destroyed. Together with UN-HABITAT, the BASF Stiftung financed the reconstruction of 15 houses for 28 poor families, thereby helping to improve the situation of these people in the long term.
During implementation of the project, it was readjusted by the project partners a number of times. In June 2012 the new buildings were officially opened and handed over to their new residents. One of the project partners documented the reconstruction on film.
In order to give young people perspectives for their future, the BASF Stiftung has joined forces with the German Commission for UNESCO and the National Commission for UNESCO Philippines to implement a 3-year project aimed at reducing youth unemployment.
The aim of STEP (Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion) is to significantly increase the number of start-ups in the Philippines in order to allow a large number of new jobs to be created. As part of university education, several hundreds of students annually are given theoretical and action-oriented knowledge on entrepreneurship, plus a refundable start-up capital to start their own businesses. In addition, importance is given to the psychology of the successful entrepreneur, sustainable business ideas as well as to scientifically accompany the learning processes. At the same time, advisory and support facilities are being set up for young start-up companies and the institutionalization of the training into the university curricula is supported.
A seaquake in the Indian Ocean in December 2004 generated a tidal wave that inundated thousands of kilometers of coastlines. The tsunami killed more than 230,000 people, countless numbers were injured and more than 1.7 million lost their homes.
The tsunami also caused tremendous damage in Sri Lanka. Fishermen and their families, among the country's poorest population groups, were hit particularly severely by the disaster.
The BASF Stiftung therefore initiated an employee fundraising campaign. The Foundation, in cooperation with UN-HABITAT, used the money raised to finance the rebuilding of a destroyed fish market hall and construct a fish market in Galle, Sri Lanka. This will create new jobs, support the local fishing industry and encourage tourism, making a lasting contribution to the reconstruction of destroyed areas and to the economic structure of the community. In January 2011, the rehabilitated infrastructure was inaugurated by local politicians and representatives of UN-HABITAT and the BASF Stiftung. The new market offers excellent, state-of-the-art facilities and high standards of hygiene. In Thailand, donations from BASF and its employees supported the reconstruction of a school, the Royal Baan Thap Lamu School in Pang Nga province.