• Ten buses, organised in two shifts, and a team of 50 people, including bank employees, volunteers, translators and medical staff, will transport those affected by the war who wish to seek refuge in Spain.
• The initiative has been launched in collaboration with Sister Lucía Caram, head of the Fundació del Convent de Santa Clara, and Father Ángel, president of Mensajeros de la Paz, both of whom are members of the first convoy, as well as private companies and suppliers of CaixaBank.
• The expedition has been organised with the consultancy of the public administration, diplomatic service and the most relevant social organisations operating in the conflict zone.
• On their arrival in Spain, the refugees will be provided with a comprehensive accompaniment plan.
The CaixaBank Association of Volunteers, in partnership with the bank and the Group’s subsidiaries and social organisations, -among them, Fundació del Convent de Santa Clara and Mensajeros de la Paz- and several other companies, in coordination with the public administration and diplomatic service, have mobilised two convoys of buses to support the population affected by the war in Ukraine and evacuate 400 refugees who wish to seek shelter in Spain.
It includes 10 buses, four support vehicles and a team of 50 people, including CaixaBank employees, volunteers, translators and medical staff, who are participating in the initiative organised in two shifts.
The first, comprising five coaches and several support vans, left Barcelona on Wednesday 16 March for the Polish towns of Tarnow, Rzeszów and Przemysl, and is already on the border with Ukraine. The expedition is being overseen by Sister Lucía Caram, head of the Fundació del Convent de Santa Clara, and Father Ángel, president of Mensajeros de la Paz, both organisations which are collaborating with the initiative. Furthermore, upon arrival at its destination, employees from CaixaBank's Poland branch joined the team.
The first convoy is set to return to Barcelona on Sunday 20 March. The second convoy will leave in the next days. Each journey takes upwards of 30 hours and covers close to 2,700 kilometres through five countries.
Comprehensive accompaniment plan on arrival in Spain
Each convoy is due to pick up 200 people displaced by the war and take them to Barcelona. Some of the refugees evacuated in the convoys are relatives of CaixaBank employees, while other cases are being coordinated with social organisations to ensure that help is available to as many people as possible wishing to seek refuge in Spain.
A comprehensive accompaniment plan has been designed for all the members of the convoy with professional support in processing formalities, accommodation and in adapting to their new life. The refugees will be able to request access to the Spanish shelter system through the Refugee Reception Centres of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.
CaixaBank's broad network of volunteers throughout Spain is also being mobilised to help support the various NGOs in any needs they may have to provide aid to those affected by the war in Ukraine, such as collecting medicines, non-perishable foodstuffs and basic necessities.
Broad institutional, social and business support
The refugee relocation initiative, driven and headed by the CaixaBank Association of Volunteers, has been undertaken in partnership with Fundació del Convent de Santa Clara, and Mensajeros de la Paz.
The main social organisations involved in the aid of refugees include ACNUR, the Red Cross, ACCER and CEAR.
The initiative also includes the participation of companies such as Alsa, Ana Palacios (photography), Señorita Templeton, Decathlon, Eurest, Arval, Lacasa, Kima Fruits, Ñaming SL, Mars Incorporated, Aramark, Szendex, Handbol Esplugues, Catai Viajes, Air Europa, Catalonia Hotels, Mutua Universal and Vallescar, as well as subsidiaries of CaixaBank Group, such as CaixaBank Payments & Consumer, imagin, SegurCaixa Adeslas or CaixaBank Facilities Management.
It has received consultancy from the Spanish government, through the Secretary of State for Immigration and the Government Delegation in Barcelona, and Spanish and Polish diplomatic service.
CaixaBank joins the humanitarian aid
The refugee aid initiative is in addition to other measures and projects promoted by the bank to support the humanitarian efforts and address the crisis created by the conflict. Since the beginning of March, CaixaBank has launched a package of measures that includes sending free transfers to Ukraine to help refugees and free use of its ATMs for customers of Ukrainian banks.
Similarly, the bank has launched an initiative to raise funds to help refugees move to Spain and cover their needs by way of a campaign to collect donations from staff throughout the CaixaBank Group. It has also committed to match the contribution made by employees.
Similarly, CaixaBank has launched a platform, free of charge, to facilitate financial donations to humanitarian organisations that are to supporting those affected by the Russian invasion. The platform enables anyone, whether an employee, customer or non-customer of the bank, to send donations through CaixaBank channels, with no charge or commission, to organisations accredited for their work on the ground with the Ukrainian people. With this initiative, donations amounting to 2.2 million euros have already been sent.
About CaixaBank Volunteers
The CaixaBank Volunteers programme is one of Spain's largest volunteering initiatives. Having more than 15 years of experience, the Association comprises employees and former employees of CaixaBank Group and "la Caixa" Foundation, as well as friends, family members, customers and all those empathetic to this reality.
Over the past year, close to 5,000 volunteers have helped more than 170,000 vulnerable people throughout Spain, thanks to the joint work with 1,300 social entities, through activities related to the likes of financial education and job placement, health, child poverty, the elderly and the environment.
Fostering corporate volunteering is one of CaixaBank's lines of action. For the bank, this is a way of helping to respond to the challenges faced by society, while simultaneously offering services and solutions enabled by its financial activity.