June 10, 2011
Alcoans help to increase access for the disabled

On Saturday June 4th, ten Alcoa Fjardaál employees, with their families and members of the Eidar Women's Club, participated in a volunteer project by the old elementary school in Eidar, East Iceland. The main aim was to make the school accessible for people in wheelchairs, but they also painted and cleaned the premises.

Eidar Women's Club is a registered charity and one of their fund-raising projects is to operate and maintain the old elementary school. They rent out the premises for various occasions and the income is used for charitable causes. Some while ago, teaching was discontinued in the old Eidar school, and moved to the town of Egilsstadir. During the summer, the location is used for summer camps, including the annual music summer camp. Next week, it will for the first time be used for a summer camp for the disabled - and the Women's Club was in trouble as there are steps outside the main building and people in wheelchairs could not enter.
Karin Axelsdóttir, a production employee in the Alcoa Fjardaál rodding shop, is a member of Eidar Women's Club, and she got the idea to ask her colleagues to join in an Action project. Alcoans all over the world can suggest an Action volunteer project to aid a charity in their community, and get their colleagues to lend a hand. If the project is cleared, the Alcoa Foundation issues a grant to the charity - 1,500 US$ if 5-9 Alcoans work together for four hours, and 3,000 US$ if there are 10 or more Alcoans in the group.
As ten Alcoans participated in the Eidar project, the club gets 3,000 US$ to pay for resources like timber, paint and such.
Karin is overjoyed to see the willlingness and generosity of her colleagues, who gladly committed this Saturday afternoon to a good cause. "It was a success, the weather was great and everyone worked with so much vigour to get things done," she said. "I'm so proud to work with all those good people. Gunnthóra, the president of the Women's Club, said to me how impressive it was to see all those men willing to do volunteer work; she is used to women doing it! But all these men working for the Women's Club! Then there were also great women from Fjardaál, who worked with so much energy."
As the photos (right) show, the volunteers built a runway which will make it possible for people in wheelchairs to get into the summer camp building. They also painted some steps yellow in order to increase the safety of visually impaired people.
The volunteer project in Eidar was the third Action project for Fjardaál employees this year. They built a skating rink in an old building in Egilsstadir and built a hedge along a motocross trail for the national Youth Championships this summer.  More projects will take place next Saturday, June 11th, including two playschools made safer, a tree-planting project in Reydarfjördur, cleaning projects in three locations and a beach volleyball field in Neskaupstadur, in collaboration with the communities of Fljótsdalshérad and Fjardabyggd.

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Runway for wheelchairs

Karin Axelsdóttir (right) initiated the project - and she is very happy with the results.

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Volunteering is fun

Young and old put their hands together. Here, volunteers paint steps to make them safer.

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Work finished!

Karin said that she could hardly stop the volunteers when the work was over. They all posed for a group photo, on the new ramp.