Mercedes-Benz Terre des Hommes.

Bon Pasteur and Terre des Hommes

For better living conditions and against child labor.

Strengthening human rights, preventing child labor: These are the fundamental objectives of our company's involvement in the social projects of Bon Pasteur and Terre des Hommes, which are active around raw material mines for cobalt and mica. Financial support for the two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been extended until 2025.

Through the annual donation, Mercedes-Benz is committed to positive developments for people in cobalt and mica mining regions. In this way, the company supports organizations that make a contribution on the ground, over and above the requirements of the German Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act (LkSG) and the company's own human rights regulations. The focus is particularly on preventing child labor in the vicinity of the mines. For this, we support two NGOs through donations: With Bon Pasteur in the Democratic Republic of Congo and with Terre des Hommes in India. Both aim to address root causes such as extreme poverty, lack of community protection systems, and limited alternative livelihoods, thereby making improvements for local children and their families. Mercedes-Benz supports initiatives, such as Bon Pasteur and Terre des Hommes, that promote social cohesion through better living conditions – and in this way reflects key elements of the corporate citizenship strategy of Mercedes-Benz.

The Bon Pasteur social project in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

Bon Pasteur wants to improve the living conditions of the people in the mining region of Kolwezi, a large cobalt mining area. The project in the region is built on several pillars. This includes protecting women and girls from violence and exploitation, making education and healthcare more accessible, and creating alternative livelihoods, for example in sustainable agriculture.

Bon Pasteur creates alternative livelihoods through sustainable agriculture. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.
Bon Pasteur creates alternative livelihoods through sustainable agriculture. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.

Through improved learning conditions and with the help of teachers, caregivers and social workers, children are supported in going to school. With the financial support of Mercedes-Benz, around 350 children were able to attend school last year, for example. In addition, around 150 people were trained in financial literacy and sustainable agriculture in order to develop new sources of income. Our company is extending its financial support so that Bon Pasteur can support a total of four communities around Kolwezi from 2023 to 2025.

School and education opportunities of Bon Pasteur. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.
School and education opportunities of Bon Pasteur. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.
Bon Pasteur has set itself the goal of providing school education for children and young people. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.
Bon Pasteur has set itself the goal of providing school education for children and young people. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.
School and education opportunities of Bon Pasteur. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.
Bon Pasteur has set itself the goal of providing school education for children and young people. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.

The Terre des Hommes social project in India:

Mercedes-Benz supports Terre des Hommes, an organization whose goal is to prevent child labor in the vicinity of mica mines in India – more precisely in Jharkhand. Mica is a raw material that is used for brake pads and in automotive coatings, among other things. The project combats child labor by addressing its root causes. Educational programs and information about children's rights are intended to prevent child labor in the mining of the raw material in the long term. For this purpose, local structures are strengthened through self-help groups, and families are supported in applying for government grants. Terre des Hommes also works with local media and institutions to get the issue of child labor higher up on the political agenda.

Bicycles make the often long journey to school easier. Photo: Terre des Hommes.
Bicycles make the often long journey to school easier. Photo: Terre des Hommes.

Terre des Hommes has supported ten communities that are economically highly dependent on mica mining during the past funding period from 2020 to 2022. Almost all children of school age were able to attend school regularly. For example, students have received bicycles to get to school and access to mobile libraries and digital learning platforms. A large proportion of families also recorded an increase in monthly family income – through farming and small business and access to government assistance, for example. Terre des Hommes also campaigns for the political and legal framework for responsible mica mining on the ground and is in contact with political decision-makers in this regard. With the support of Mercedes-Benz, the organization will be able to expand its activities to 20 additional communities in the future and consolidate the progress made in the previous ten communities.