Disaster relief Helping vulnerable communities become more resilient

At C&A we truly believe in strengthening communities. This is an integral part of our culture and legacy – it’s who we are as a brand. Many of our operations are in countries that suffer a disproportionate number of natural disasters. 

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We’re working with C&A Foundation and partners to help communities prepare for the worst. Rapid response aid following a disaster helps, but only momentarily. So, through our Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme with Save the Children, we're helping communities to become more prepared for when disaster strikes. We’re teaching women and children the skills that will reduce losses caused by disaster.


$1 saves $7: For every dollar spent on DRR measures, $7 in post disaster recovery can be saved. [SOURCE: Asian Development Bank, 2008]

Women and children are 14 times more likely to die in disasters. [SOURCE: UNISDR]

Disaster relief with C&A Foundation

In 2016, C&A Foundation and Save the Children kicked off the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) research, with a suite of 11 studies that will provide an evidence base for DRR programming. Based on pre-existing data on disasters from 17 countries, we are collating insights on tools, policies and programme approaches that work. This will help us decide what to scale, or what to leave behind.

Share what works 

Each of the five countries we work in faces distinct challenges. In Bangladesh for example, we focus on risk management for women, children and garment workers, and in Mexico and China we focus on school safety. Country teams are sharing what they learn with each other so we can create an overall framework of learning that we can build on for the future.

Convene and inspire others

One partnership to improve the resilience of women and children can only go so far. We want to make an impact that's greater than the sum of our parts. We share learnings of the five country programmes and the research element of the initiative within Save the Children and also with the entire global Disaster Risk Reduction sector. C&A Foundation does this through participation in forums, platforms, panels and meetings, such as the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.


Read more in C&A Foundation's Annual Report


Save the Children donations helping refugees

C&A customers donated more than €500,000 between May 2015 and November 2016 to Save the Children, helping refugees in Europe as part of our Mothers Make the Difference campaign. Donation boxes were available in 1,150 C&A stores in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Children and mothers are especially vulnerable in times of conflict, crisis and disaster. Since the beginning of our partnership in 2015, C&A and C&A Foundation have been dedicated partners in our efforts to empower mothers and children in crisis around the world, such as those arriving as refugees in Europe. The partnership includes a three-year financial support of €3 million per year by C&A Foundation, as well as a pledge to include C&A customers and employees who also want to get involved.

After two years, the partnership between C&A, C&A Foundation and Save the Children has helped approximately 425,000 people worldwide. We have focused our partnership on emergency response, providing flexible funds for aid after emergencies occur, such as the Nepal earthquake and flooding in Bangladesh and India. Another focus of the partnership has been disaster risk reduction, empowering communities to become more resilient.

One of the projects that was supported by C&A’s customer donations was Vos Hestia, Save the Children's Mediterranean search and rescue ship. Between its launch in September 2016 and the end of November 2016, Save the Children helped to rescue over 2,600 refugees and migrants, including over 400 children, pregnant women and newborn babies. 90% of the children rescued were unaccompanied.

Read about the work we do in our supply chain to protecting the most vulnerable


Save the Children Mother’s Day campaign

Our Save the Children campaign is also active in Mexico. On Mother’s Day 2016, our stores in Mexico City raised €16,297 through the sale of T-shirts, which C&A Foundation matched with our own donation. The money went to C&A Foundation's and Save the Children’s Disaster Risk Reduction project, working with women and children in Mexico, part of a larger programme which also runs in Brazil, India, China and Bangladesh. The project was initiated in 2015 and aims to help communities become more resilient and improve lives and livelihoods.

Save the Children drawing competition

Children from 13 schools participating in the C&A Foundation and Save the Children project in Yucatan, Mexico, took part in a drawing competition. Eight winners were chosen by our commercial teams out of a total of 280 entries, and the designs were printed on puzzles, which were given as gifts in-store with the purchase of special T-shirts during April 2017, and on a range of children’s shoes.

C&A Foundation will donate the equivalent of 20% of the sale price of each item to Save the Children, who will spend some of these funds training personnel to respond in case of emergency and installing tools and equipment – such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits – for the participating schools. The children themselves were awarded with a €75 gift card each to spend in-store, a diploma, a set of colouring pens to support them in pursuing their talent, as well as items with their own drawings on them.

Mexico: Save the Children Christmas Campaign

During Christmas 2016, we sold over 25,000 items to raise around €18,000 for Save the Children. The money will go towards equipping schools in Mérida in Mexico to build child-friendly spaces in case of natural disasters. As the campaign was such a success, we held more campaigns during April 2017 to coincide with Children´s Day.

Unpredictability and devastation

With issues such as war and global warming intesifying the scale of disasters, we can never completely mitigate against them. The frequency and unpredictability of natural disasters makes them difficult to accurately prepare for, but with our continued efforts, we hope they will be less devastating to those communities they affect. 

 Highlights included:

  • €500,000 donated by C&A customers in Europe to Save the Children between May 2015 and November 2016.
  • €18,000 raised by C&A Mexico to help disaster victims in Mérida.
  • €16,297 raised, through T-shirt sales and match-funding, by C&A Mexico for C&A Foundation and Save the Children’s projects with women and children.



Where next?

In 2017 we will continue our successful partnership with Save the Children, focusing on emergency response and disaster risk reduction. We’ll also continue our European store-giving programme. 

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