BNP Paribas Spain has participated in the “A smile for Christmas” campaign for the past six years. This year, Cardif Spain, a subsidiary of the BNP Paribas Group, also took part in the initiative, which is organised jointly by the NGO International Cooperation and the charitable association Caritas.
As part of this initiative, 150 gift parcels were distributed to disadvantaged children in a working-class suburb of Madrid – thanks to the generosity of Group staff.
We first suggested to our staff and associates that they become involved in the “A smile for Christmas” campaign back in November 2009. They were given the opportunity to donate toys or money for buying presents for the struggling families. A picnic was organised for staff members and those families on 4 January in the parish of Santa Eulalia de Merida, in the working-class district of Entrevias, not far from Madrid. Caritas works on a daily basis with this parish and is thus familiar with the situation of each family.
Nursery rhymes, songs, dances and various team games were all part of the event and enabled everyone to have a good time and share some special moments. Each child waited his or her turn to give a letter to the Wise Men.*
“At the picnic, I was particularly moved by Jeferson, a little four-year-old boy. He was sad because his Daddy, who had his letter for the Wise Men, had not come to the party. He thought he would not be given a present. His face lit up when we rewrote his letter together. He asked for an electric train and pointed out that I should not forget to write that he had been good,” explained Macarena Munoz Ruiz De Villa, who is in charge of funds at the “Advisory Desk” of BNP Paribas Wealth Management Spain.
It is essential for us to work regularly with associations or NGOs such as Caritas or International Cooperation, which are well acquainted with the area. We can see the practical outcome of our support.
*In Spain, on 6 January (Epiphany) children traditionally receive gifts from the Wise Men. The evening before, 5 January, street celebrations and processions are organised throughout the country.