Kim Edsvik (to the left) at a Tuesday training with other members from the volunteer fire brigade. Photo: Mervi Turunen.

Passionate Citecians are paying it forward

Throughout the years, Citec has actively been helping several charities. A lot of individual Citecians are also privately contributing towards voluntary causes in their spare time. Their driving force can stem from a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves, or from the great feeling when being able to help somebody else, or simply from the sparkle in the eyes of an excited child.

It’s the small things that count

Brigitte Gattinger, who transferred from Outotec to Citec in 2018, works as a Senior Project Engineer at Citec’s office in Oberursel, Germany. In the autumn of 2015, she felt she wanted to do something useful with her spare time. As more than one million refugees arrived in Germany that year, she knew where her help was needed the most.

Refugees need friends, it’s as simple as that.

Gattinger started teaching German to refugees in an emergency camp in Mainz together with other volunteers. After a while she was introduced to a group of ten Afghani refugees, all staying in one single room at the emergency camp at first. Gattinger helped this group in all ways she possibly could; by filling in forms and CVs needed for integration courses at the job centre, translating official letters, assisting with bank transfers, later assisting in searching for internships or jobs, searching for apartments, looking for second-hand furniture, joining job interviews, etc. “It’s the small things, like cooking or drinking tea together, that I feel are the most precious. Refugees don’t have that many real points of contact with Germans. They need friends, it’s as simple as that,” Gattinger says.

Brigitte Gattinger helping out with the homework.

The humanitarian relief agency, Malteser, which Gattinger joined after a few months, supported her in many ways – having experts to talk to is very important. Through Malteser, she was, for example, given the advice to focus on one refugee instead of a whole group. Hence, in autumn 2016, Gattinger started helping one of the refugees, first with the homework for his German classes. Later she helped him to receive a work permit and to finally find a job. This process involved several drawbacks, but since the spring of 2018, he has been working at a hotel and the future now looks bright. Today, the two meet regularly to work on his German skills or simply to hang out.

Always prepared

“Would you be interested in a hobby that’s a bit different?” a Citec colleague asked Kim Edsvik around 15 years ago. The answer was yes! After that, Edsvik, who works at Citec’s headquarters in Vaasa as Head of Plant Equipment, Product Engineering, has been an active volunteer firefighter.

In addition to helping people in distress, one of the best things with being a firefighter is to visit different events or kindergartens to tell children about fire safety. Kids just love fire engines, and it’s great to see the joy in their eyes.

Edsvik always keeps his mobile phone close by, as he can receive an SMS from the emergency centre at any time. All members who are available will drop anything at hand to go on a rescue mission. “I’m grateful to have a flexible employer because accidents don’t always happen when you’re off work,” says Edsvik. Luckily, the Dragnäsbäck volunteer fire brigade – where Edsvik is a member – has a high number of active members, and via a tailor-made app, they can let each other know who is available to ensure a large enough group can go on each call. “In addition to helping people in distress, one of the best things with being a firefighter is to visit different events or kindergartens to tell children about fire safety. Kids just love fire engines, and it’s great to see the joy in their eyes,” says Edsvik.

Edsvik’s brigade arranges trainings every Tuesday evening, and Edsvik attends these as often as he can. All the members have become close friends, and the atmosphere at the weekly trainings is always warm and relaxed. In addition to being a firefighter, Edsvik is also a member of the brigade board, where he has acted as the treasurer for the last ten years. At the moment, the brigade is building a new fire station, and the financial part keeps Edsvik busy. “I can warmly recommend voluntary work to everyone – it’s rewarding, and you have the possibility to make new friends from all walks of life, which is a good thing. In the fire brigade, you never know what to expect when you arrive on a call. With our diverse backgrounds, somehow someone always has the right competence needed for a particular challenge,” concludes Edsvik.

Trucking towards a cleaner lane

For several years, Citec India has actively supported underprivileged children under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. This year, the CSR activities focus on hygiene within the “Swatch Bharat Abhiyan” (Clean India Mission) of the Government of India.

On 9 June 2019, a mini truck for refuse collection and disposal was handed over to the governing council of Thanenhave village. The village, with a total population of 1,857 and 668 houses, hadn’t had the possibility to purchase one previously. The truck will collect waste from all the homes. The waste will be sorted, and organic waste will be used to create compost soil. All the villagers can benefit from the compost soil in their agricultural farms.

Citec, represented by Nasir Mulani (Managing Director, India), Johan Westermarck (CEO) and Laura Kauppinen (Vice President, Administration & Development) handing over the mini truck to the Thanenhave village council.

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