Making a Difference, Together - Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA

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Gruner + Jahr | Hamburg, 02/23/2016

Making a Difference, Together

Subject: Society
Country: Germany
Category: Project

From A for Airbus to V for Volkswagen: Gruner + Jahr is partnering with 35 other well-known German companies in an initiative to advance the integration of refugees, called Wir zusammen (We, together).

"Businesses must not stand on the sidelines when it comes to organizing the citizenry – especially not if you’re a publisher," says G+J CEO Julia Jäkel in the pledge of support submitted by Gruner + Jahr for Wir zusammen. "It makes me very proud to see how actively our employees are dealing with the current refugee situation. A lively interest in society makes us who we are, and we demonstrate it here." 36 companies have already publicly committed themselves to the integration of refugees as part of the German business initiative recently launched by Ralph Dommermuth, founder and CEO of United Internet AG. A dedicated platform, "," shows the long-term projects they are involved in to integrate refugees into the labor market and society.

Together, the network aims to help people who were forced to flee from war and persecution create a new future, and to participate in local life for the time they are in Germany. With its sponsorship Gruner + Jahr also seeks to send a signal that Germany is a tolerant and open country. After all, as a publisher of numerous magazines and websites G+J has helped shape German society for more than 50 years - and is shaped by it. In recent decades G+J has repeatedly participated in major aid campaigns, for example, in campaigns against the famine in Ethiopia in the 1970s, in "Help Russia" in the early 1990s, and since 2000 in initiatives such as "Mut gegen rechte Gewalt" (Courage Against Right-Wing Violence).

G+J has been involved in efforts to cope with the current refugee crisis since the middle of last year. As part of the "Gruner + Jahr packt an" (Gruner + Jahr rolls up its sleeves) initiative many colleagues have helped relocate the clothing store of the Hamburg refugee reception center, develop learning materials for children or, like the "Geolino" editorial team, organize a games and crafts day with children at the refugee reception center in Bergedorf. Colleagues are still involved in diverse ways at the beginning of 2016. About 180 G+J employees have now signed up for a mailing list and are ready to go and "roll up their sleeves" somewhere if needed. The permanent program includes a German language course for refugees on the G+J premises - a second will probably soon be added.

"By committing to making a tangible and lasting contribution to the integration of refugees in Germany under the Wir zusammen umbrella, Gruner + Jahr is continuing what we already began long ago," reads written in the sponsorship pledge that Jäkel signed on behalf of G+J.

This is also true for a campaign that was one of the inspirations behind the "Wir zusammen" concept: "Stern" has taken on a one-year sponsorship of accommodations for 600 people run by the "fördern & wohnen" civic organization in the Billbrook district of Hamburg. Numerous colleagues from the print and online editorial teams give practical help to refugees there about how to take their first steps in dealing with everyday German life.

Integration projects launched by other companies in recent months can be found on  . From Feb 28, an online and TV campaign will highlight the joint initiative by the German business sector.