This fantastic initiative deserves some attention! That’s why we spoke briefly with Stijn, who told us more about AG Insurance, its charity projects and the initiative with which he and his colleagues made some underprivileged children in Ukkel very happy.
Stijn, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Stijn: Of course. My name is Stijn Lenaerts. I’ve been married for ten years and I have three daughters aged three, six and nine. I studied applied informatics at the REGA Institute in Leuven, a three-year college course. After finishing my studies, I started working at EDS, helping out with projects for KBC, BNP Fortis and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, among others.
HP took over EDS in 2008, but this did not affect my projects. During the takeover, I carried on working at BNP Fortis, which was then ‘simply’ called Fortis. But HP was facing some challenges and in 2016 I decided it was time to look for work elsewhere. That’s how I ended up at Pauwels Consulting.
Stijn: I work for the AG Insurance printing team, which has five members. We’re responsible for managing documents, so my typical working day consists of business meetings, analyses, development, testing, etc.
Stijn: Certainly. AG Insurance is strongly committed to various charities, partners and associations through ‘AG Solidarity’. More than 170, I believe. Once a year, AG also asks each internal department to help with a charity project, where the idea is to offer actual physical assistance on location.
Stijn: Let me think… AG Solidarity participated in the ‘Back to School with a Smile’ initiative organised by our new partner Goods to Give. With the help of AG Insurance, underprivileged children across the country received more than 800 new school items, including school bags and lunch boxes.
AG Solidarity also worked together with Vzw ’t Eilandje. This non-profit association organises basic services and temporary care and the accommodation team looks for housing solutions and supports home counselling for people who have recently moved. AG helped in the renovation of the association’s day centre.
AG Solidarity also helped renovate the kitchen at Vzw Tronkestik, a guidance home that provides care to twelve children and adolescents aged three to eighteen, and supported the construction of new homes for ASBL Comme chez nous, an association that provides integrated care and counselling for homeless people.
There are also fun initiatives, such as the current table football tournament where each team donates four euro to take part. Another initiative involves buying chocolate Christmas balls. The proceeds go to charities of course.
Which charitable initiatives did you take part in?
Stijn: Personally, I helped with an initiative for Maison des Enfants Clair Matin SAAE in Ukkel. This association offers care and counselling to forty-two children aged three to eighteen who cannot go home. Together with approximately fifty colleagues, we carried out various tasks, including giving the rooms and windows a lick of paint, tidying up the kitchen, removing an old fence, making the garden nice, etc.
We also gave the children 150 Lego, Playmobil and Barbie toys (smiles). I try to support other projects as much as I can too, but in fact, this was the first time that AG invited me to go and help out on location. Every time, AG decides which department works where.
How did this initiative make you feel?
Stijn: It goes without saying that the people who take part in this initiative really have it in their hearts to help others. These colleagues deserve respect. After we’d finished working, we were allowed to meet some of the children who stay at the association. Once you’ve seen all the joy and happiness that a new garden and some Barbie dolls bring, the physical effort of the day is immediately forgotten. You’re also brought down to earth. You realise how luxurious your lifestyle is and how banal your own problems really are.
Are you going to help other charities in the future?
Stijn: Definitely. As I said, this was the first time that AG contacted me, but considering the fantastic initiatives they organise and how much help and joy they bring, I definitely intend to actively support other charities in the future.