Making a difference: Philanthropic team building gaining ground

by Cameron Edmond06 Jun 2013

Tired of the same old team building experiences? How about combining corporate team bonding with a cause that really makes a difference? 

The Helping Hands project involves the constructing of prosthetic hands for landmine victims. There are 300,000 landmine-related amputees globally, 20% of whom are children. “With over 100 million active land mines all over the world, this is one of the major global challenges of our time,” Matt Henricks, founder of the Helping Hands Program Australia and director of Henricks Consulting, said.

The project is geared towards team building exercises for organisations. Teams go through the process of building these hands, which are then sent to someone in need.

So far, 48 Australian companies have been involved, including the Reserve Bank of Australia. International organisations that have taken part include American Express and Siemens.

The process begins with teams having one of their hands bound to simulate an amputee’s experience. Together, they build a prosthetic hand out of metal and plastic, as well as decorating the box the hand shall be shipped in. Participants are then given the chance to write with the hand they have made, giving them a broader understand of the impact their labour will soon have.

The quality-tested hands are then shipped out to those who need them across the world.

“One of our goals with this project was to build 1,000 prosthetic hands to distribute to landmine victims by the end of 2013,” Henricks said. 521 hands have been built so far, with an additional 300 ordered.

The impact of Helping Hands as a team building exercise is clear: not only will teams learn to work together towards a single project, but they will also be developing a life-changing tool and making a difference in the world.

“Seeing people of all ages lift a spoon to their mouth to eat cereal, hold a pen in their hand for the first time in many years or be able to ride a bike like their friends, was incredible,” Henricks stated.

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