CSR activities in HIP; Champions of disability inclusion and maternal health

Step into the vibrant world of Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP), where factories not only contribute significantly to Ethiopia’s foreign currency earnings and GDP, but also serve as catalysts for job creation on a massive scale. These factories are not just economic powerhouses; they are also sources of immense pride as they proudly bear the label ‘Made in Ethiopia.’ Their products have found their way onto the shelves of prestigious retailers in America, Europe, and Canada, effectively showcasing the quality and craftsmanship of our nation to the world. 

But the impact of these factories goes beyond economic success. They are committed to the well-being of their workers and actively engage in various corporate social responsibility initiatives. From empowering women through dedicated programs to organizing blood donation drives and participating in numerous charitable activities, these companies are making a tangible difference in the lives of their employees and the communities they operate in. 

Blood donation campaign at Indochine Facility

The factories at HIP are not just about production and profit; they are about creating a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond their walls. By prioritizing the welfare of their workers and actively giving back to society, these factories are setting a shining example for others to follow. They are not just shaping the future of Ethiopia’s industrial landscape; they are also shaping a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

So, let us celebrate the remarkable achievements of Hawassa Industrial Park and the factories within it. They are not only driving economic growth and putting Ethiopia on the global map, but they are also making a lasting impact on the lives of their workers and the communities they serve. Together, they are transforming the face of industry and proving that success can be achieved hand in hand with social responsibility.

In a groundbreaking collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ethiopian Business Disability Network, a transformative workshop on maternal health and disability inclusion was held, bringing together all the factories at Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP) and other key stakeholders.

This workshop served as a platform to recognize HIP as a trailblazer among industrial parks in Ethiopia. The factories within HIP have gone above and beyond to create disability-inclusive workplaces, employing individuals with disabilities and implementing reasonable accommodations to ensure their working environments are tailored to their needs.

Let’s take a look at some of these companies that have championed disability inclusion and maternal health and have created a healthy and happy working atmosphere in their factories.

Hela: Nurturing Mothers and Embracing Inclusivity

Hela Sumbi is the largest bra manufacturer in East Africa and its subsidiary company Hela produces women’s panties. The company has launched a women empowerment project known as ‘Unleash her’. This project has various schemes to keep the well-being of women workers and ultimately empower them to be productive members of the society.

Step into the extraordinary world of Hela, where compassion and inclusivity reign supreme. This remarkable factory not only produces exceptional intimate apparel but also goes above and beyond to prioritize the well-being of its employees, particularly pregnant mothers.

Recognizing the critical importance of nutrition during pregnancy, Hela provides free nutritious meals to expectant mothers every single day. This thoughtful gesture ensures that both the mother and the precious life growing within her womb receive the essential nutrients needed for a healthy journey. But Hela’s commitment doesn’t stop there.

Once a pregnant worker reaches the five-month mark, they are relieved from engaging in heavy tasks, allowing them to focus on their well-being and the well-being of their unborn child. To further support their journey, Hela’s dedicated medical team provides comprehensive prenatal care throughout the entire pregnancy, ensuring that every mother receives the attention and care they deserve.

But Hela’s dedication to maternal health doesn’t end with childbirth. After giving birth, new mothers are granted two hours of paid time every day to breastfeed their babies. This invaluable support not only promotes the health and bonding between mother and child but also recognizes the importance of this precious time in a baby’s early development. To make this process even more seamless, Hela goes the extra mile by facilitating transportation for these mothers, ensuring they can easily commute to and from work while still prioritizing their little ones.

However, Hela’s commitment to inclusivity extends far beyond maternal health. They have created an inclusive work environment by actively employing individuals with disabilities. By embracing diversity and providing equal opportunities, Hela sets an inspiring example for other companies to follow. Their dedication to inclusivity not only enriches the lives of their employees but also fosters a culture of acceptance and understanding within the workplace.

Pregnant workers having nutritious meal at Hela and medical checkup at the factory’s clinic

EPIC Group: Empowering Women and Embracing Diversity at HIP

Prepare to be amazed by the incredible strides made by EPIC Group, a multinational company specializing in men’s, women’s and children’s clothing production at Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP). Not only are they creating a huge impact in revolutionizing the garment industry in Ethiopia , but they are also leading the charge in empowering women through their groundbreaking project, ‘enate ena lije’.

EPIC Group understands the importance of supporting pregnant mothers, just like their esteemed counterpart, Hela.   At their state-of-the-art clinics, EPIC Group offers comprehensive pre and post-natal medical checkups, guaranteeing that every mother receives the utmost care and attention during this transformative journey.

But EPIC Group’s commitment to pregnant mothers doesn’t stop there. They go above and beyond by providing special meals four times a day, tailored to meet the unique nutritional needs of expectant mothers. Recognizing the importance of rest, EPIC Group also grants pregnant mothers the right to a one-hour break at their clinic facility, allowing them to recharge and prioritize their health.

EPIC Group also take a compassionate approach to address the challenges faced by single mothers, offering guidance and raising awareness to prevent any involvement in abortion. Moreover, EPIC Group provides financial support to these courageous single moms, ensuring they have the necessary resources to navigate the journey of pregnancy and beyond without unnecessary hardship.

In addition to their remarkable efforts in maternal health, EPIC Group is a shining example of inclusivity. They employ individuals with disabilities, including those with visual, hearing, and physical impairments. By creating a disability-inclusive working environment, EPIC Group not only provides equal opportunities but also celebrates the unique talents and contributions of every employee.

Indochie: Where Empowerment and Growth Flourish at HIP

Step into the world of Indochie, a factory specializing in men’s pants production at Hawassa Industrial Park (HIP), and prepare to be inspired. This remarkable company not only produces exceptional garments but also goes above and beyond to create a workplace that fosters empowerment and growth.

Under their visionary project, aptly named ‘It’s for you’, Indochine offers a range of benefits designed to support their employees, particularly mothers. They understand the unique challenges faced by mothers in the workforce and have implemented thoughtful initiatives to make their lives easier. Special meals are provided, ensuring that expectant and nursing mothers receive the nutrition they need to thrive. Additionally, mothers are given special uniforms for easy identification, streamlining their experience within the factory.

But Indochie’s commitment to their employees doesn’t stop there. They have taken a remarkable step by establishing a backyard vegetable farm, ensuring that fresh and healthy produce is readily available. Mothers are not only provided with free vegetables, but the rest of the workforce can also enjoy these nutritious offerings at a subsidized price. This initiative not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also fosters a sense of community and well-being within the company.

In addition to their dedication to supporting mothers, Indochie proudly employs 25 workers with disabilities. Their commitment to inclusivity and equal opportunities has not gone unnoticed. In fact, their efforts were recognized by the esteemed Ethiopia Business Disability Network, who awarded Indochie the Best Employer Award in 2020. This accolade is a testament to their unwavering commitment to creating a workplace that celebrates diversity and empowers individuals to reach their full potential.

While nutrient rich food is being served to pregnant mothers at Indochine and their backyard vegetable farm

One shining example of Indochie’s impact is the incredible journey of Abe Tessema. Despite having a disability in his hands, Abe joined the company as a storeman two years ago. He embodies the belief that “disability is not inability” and has never allowed his condition to define him. Through hard work and determination, Abe has risen through the ranks and is now the senior executive of the store. His inspiring story serves as a reminder to others with disabilities that their challenges do not define them and that they too can achieve greatness.

The above three mentioned companies commitment to empowerment and growth will continue to transform HIP into one of the most desirable workplaces in Ethiopia. By creating an environment where individuals like Abe can thrive and reach higher positions, they are not only creating happy workers but also fostering a sense of fulfilment and contentment within their employees’ lives. This ultimately leads to happier families and a harmonious work environment.

As we celebrate the achievements of HIP factories, let us recognize their unwavering dedication to inclusivity and their tireless efforts to uplift their employees. They are not just transforming the way we perceive disability and maternal health in the workplace; they are igniting a powerful movement that will shape the future of Ethiopia’s industrial landscape for the better.

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