Melon is a Giver

We enjoy looking back at our recent achievements. And we admit, we take pride in our corporate social responsibility (CSR) program that we set at the end of 2018 and were able to fully and successfully unfold in 2019.

Melon is neither a pioneer, nor an exception. But we do stand out when it comes to the process of designing our CSR policy. We arrived at our comprehensive program the Melon way – organically. Inspired and driven by our teammates’ efforts throughout the years. And at the end, we’re truly happy with our young and humble yet precious portfolio of supported initiatives.

By definition, (CSR) is companies giving back and contributing to the community’s environmental and social wellbeing. For years, we’ve deployed CSR efforts in a piecemeal way because Melon employees have always loved it. They’ve been suggesting and participating in various causes. In 2018, we even voted to include CSR activities at Melon’s annual teambuilding. So, it was only natural to structure all our efforts and match them with a budget to complete Melon’s CSR policy. Additionally, we’re willing and capable of engaging dedicated staff and resources.

The Process

It was crucial to base our CSR policy on Melon employees’ preferences: how the company should be donating and to what kind of projects. Their opinion matters the most so that they can actually engage and learn when it comes to volunteering and donating. Therefore, we conducted two separate surveys in our offices in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

In Bulgaria, our team members decided that the company should support more than one project. Ideally dedicated to improving kid’s education, environmental efforts or social support. A great number said they’d like to volunteer themselves and make individual donations.

Similarly, in Skopje our team chose to support education, environmental efforts and healthy living for kids. They would also gladly volunteer and make personal donations. The only difference being they’d prefer to support only one project for bigger impact.

Most Melon team members (more than 80%) both in Bulgaria and Macedonia, also said that it’s very important that the company has a corporate social responsibility policy. So, we knew we were on the right path.

In Bulgaria, our CSR enthusiast from the marketing department searched for NGOs bringing change in the selected areas. They had to had already demonstrated social impact and be recognized for their impeccable reputation. We invited 16 organizations asking them what they would do with the money grant and how they can include Melon’s employee’s as volunteers.

We’ve selected an internal jury of 7 teammates from our .NET, Python, SharePoint, and Marketing & HR departments. After a passionate and quite heated discussion, it was decided to support 4 organizations and their hard work dedicated to improving the quality of life of kids living with physical and mental disabilities and STEM education for school kids.

Then we invited the 4 projects to visit our Sofia office and tell us their stories. It was a heart-warming and truly inspiring meeting leaving no doubt why we selected to support these outstanding organizations. With Melon’s support, here are their 2019 good deeds bringing positive change to kids’ lives around the country.

The Organizations

ParaKids provides specialized equipment and sports adapted for children with disabilities and developmental disorders by offering swimming and ski classes, gymnastics and sports camps. Their mission is to assist these children with access to different types of sports so that they can practice together with their peers in the pool, at the stadium or in the open. They believe that every child is entitled to year-round access to games and sports among friends, to improve their quality of life, strengthen their health and self-esteem.

In 2019, Melon donated one specially designed stroller for kids with disabilities so that they can take part in sports activities in the open such as hiking in the mountains and walks and marathons in the city. ParaKids immediately put it into use for one of their ten children who joined the Sofia Marathon in October 2019 with the motto: “Run with those who can’t”.

Vratsa Software Community is an awards-winning NGO that Melon has supported several times throughout the years. They’ve chosen to establish an IT society, which through quality education gives people in the town of Vratsa an opportunity of a challenging and well-paid job in their hometown. The tricky part is that Vratsa is the poorest region in the EU. In 2019, Melon backed their IT classes for 450 kids in schools, as well as their 6th consecutive edition of Code Week Vratsa. Eight IT speakers shared their thrilling experience with the audience of 200. Additionally, there was a competition between local teams in 6 categories like web and mobile development, UX design, digital marketing, video production, etc.

Technokrati offers a comprehensive training program utilizing technologies as a means to unlock new interests and skills for children aged 7-16. They have courses in robotics, programming and green energy in small groups, allowing working in teams and giving individual attention to every single child. This process encourages them to think creatively, be curious, but also patient, and to work together.

Melon supported their 2nd national competition for hydrogen powered small model cars between 8 school teams from 7 Bulgarian towns. As soon as the COVID-19 lockdown is over, the winner will be going to an international event. 

For Technokrati, Melon also started developing a pro-bono website to help them more easily manage their courses schedule. And when it comes to pro bono software development – either mobile apps, e-learning courses or websites, we have a strong track record. So, we have another great story to share and it’s coming soon.  

The IT Club in Veliko Tarnovo have robotics, engineering, physics and programming classes for school children in the underdeveloped Bulgarian region. They identify talented and interested kids whose family cannot afford extra curriculum activities and provide them with scholarships for their own courses. In 2019, Melon secured 10 of those scholarships. 

These are the 4 terrific organizations that we were able to support in 2019. We’re happy that we could match our employees’ mindset and interests with the right non-profit organizations. Further, when drafting our CSR policy, we saw that Melon’s developers are very eager and care deeply about preserving the environment. That’s why we, as a company, in 2019 put special effort in becoming plastic-free. And that’s just the beginning of our journey to a more sustainable development. So, soon we will tell you more about Melon’s plastic-free transformation and further plans.