Empowering the community through CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can take the form of money or charity events – but that isn’t enough. Veranda and Heritage Resorts’ passion for serving others extends far beyond the hotel walls, and is a direct reflection of what it stands for: compassion and inclusion. The resorts have taken it upon themselves to knit close ties with the community, all while breathing new life into its spirit.
The untouched, wild Southern Coast in Mauritius is a hot-spot for honeymooners and families, who love nothing more than to luxuriate on the powdery white sands of Bel Ombre. Sometimes, they leave more than just their footprints behind… Candy wrappers and soda cans occasionally become part of the landscape, and though bottle caps might seem harmless, they would most likely win in a fight against a bird.
Veranda Resorts and Heritage Resorts address this issue by educating employees, guests and locals on the importance of preserving the island’s biodiversity, in an attempt to reverse the indifference people might feel towards the environment. Several times a year, they spearhead a beach clean-up, where eager participants – and not just beachgoers – set out to clear the beautiful beaches of trash. Employees, villagers and tourists join forces to sweep the sand and sea of littering, conscientiously putting aside recyclable items.
Curbing the amount of trash sure is the end goal; but along the journey, a community comes together. The villagers engage in the movement, empowered by the understanding that their individual behaviour can have a strong impact. They learn that working with the community brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities and education levels, united by the same aspirations.
Caritas – Helping children worldwide
Veranda and Heritage Resorts are changing what it means to be dedicated to their community. They proudly represent CARITAS, a global organization that strives to help children who were born in a cycle of extreme poverty. While these children might have been born in a disadvantaged environment, they are certainly not bound to their station in life – Veranda and Heritage Resorts make sure of that.
Five years ago, the resorts took 48 children under their wing to groom, educate and mentor. Coordinated by Jannick Rico (who also doubles as a teacher,) the programme exposes kids from neighbouring villages to values and activities that are not within easy reach in their surroundings. Every morning, Jannick and her team provide them with a well-balanced breakfast, pack them up a tasty lunch and accompany them to school. A thorough follow-up is conducted with the teachers and the parents, to make sure that the child is receiving the best kind of support.
Learning outside the classroom is just as beneficial, and probably more enjoyable for the kids. Every three months, they are welcomed into the hotel, where they are taught life skills, of which human values take precedence: honesty, truthfulness, respect and hard-work are deeply embedded in them, in the hope that they will permanently break out of their vulnerable state.
They are also initiated to golf (for which they receive a certificate) and taken on walks around Frédérica Nature Reserve to stir up a connection with nature. Their favorite of all is the time they spend in the kitchen, learning how to make what children’s dreams are made of – pizzas and chocolate cookies.
One little Noah springs to mind as a heart-warming example of a child who, inspired by these teachings, worked his way toward better grades and a self-confidence boost. He even featured in a movie about a little boy, Tikulu, who travels to Bel Ombre in discovery of its people; his honed football skills are also widely acclaimed in the area. Now, Noah knows that he has a shot at success.
Veranda and Heritage Resorts’ initiatives, beyond supporting vulnerable members of society, create a shared sense of purpose and dedication among the employees. The genuine desire to foster a positive change in society is what drives them forward.