Seeing the True Face of Social Responsibility; THRIVE Dawn Rowlands, Pa at the Birmingham Office of National Law Firm Shoosmiths, Gives a Personal Account of What CSR Means to Her since a Trip to Help ADS/HIV Victims at St Francis Care Centre, in Boksburg, South Africa

The Birmingham Post (England), December 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

Seeing the True Face of Social Responsibility; THRIVE Dawn Rowlands, Pa at the Birmingham Office of National Law Firm Shoosmiths, Gives a Personal Account of What CSR Means to Her since a Trip to Help ADS/HIV Victims at St Francis Care Centre, in Boksburg, South Africa


Byline: Dawn Rowlands

For me, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was just a meaningless acronym describing any firm's apparent commitment and responsibility to society.

When we've held charity events at Shoosmiths, I've always donated but have never felt completely engaged. But I had never been given the rare opportunity to witness at first hand the difference my own personal participation could make to other people's lives.

So when the opportunity arose to travel to the St Francis Centre In South Africa, I felt It was a chance to do my bit and discover the real meaning of CSR.

My first experience of actually feeling 'engaged' began when each of us took responsibility for organising donations of unwanted clothes at each of our local offices prior to the visit with the intention of making the donation in person on arrival at the centre.

The first thing I saw at the centre was a young woman, crying whilst walking from a building. I later learned that the corridor she had just left was for the terminally 111.

As well as volunteering our services, Shoosmiths donated a car to staff at the centre to help transport patients and collect medical supplies. The gratitude and relief expressed by the staff was a poignant experience for me. I realised that I was seeing the Impact of CSR first hand, and for once, I felt part of It.

We met a number of patients, including those benefiting from the anti-retroviral treatment which was purchased from funds donated by individuals and companies alike. We were then shown into a section for the terminally 111 AIDS patients. I found this shocking and although I was warned, nothing can possibly prepare you for the look of fear and sadness in their faces.

An extension - The Rainbow Centre - Is a haven for orphaned children and those born with HIV. Children there are schooled by qualified teachers. …

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Seeing the True Face of Social Responsibility; THRIVE Dawn Rowlands, Pa at the Birmingham Office of National Law Firm Shoosmiths, Gives a Personal Account of What CSR Means to Her since a Trip to Help ADS/HIV Victims at St Francis Care Centre, in Boksburg, South Africa
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