Melon is neither a pioneer, nor an exception. But we do stand out when it comes to the process of designing our corporate social responsibility (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 organizations.
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 non-profit initiatives and even voted to include CSR activities at one of Melon’s annual team-buildings. So, it was only natural to structure all our efforts and match them with a budget to complete Melon’s CSR policy. We designed it in 2018, fully unfolded in 2019 and after assessing the impact, we can say we’re truly happy and proud and will carry on with it.
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.
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 2019-2021, Melon donated funds for specially designed strollers 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 like ParaKids regular participation at the annual Sofia Marathon in October. Their motto is: “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.
In 2020, they used Melon’s donation to organize HackVratsa and to secured several scholarships for their 9-month coding course.
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.
In 2019, 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.
In 2020, again, we backed up the participation of 5 Bulgarian schools at the national competition for hydrogen powered small model cars Horizon Grand Prix 2020.
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.
School of Arts and Crafts for Socially Disadvantaged Children in the village of Rusalya near Veliko Tarnovo provides talented and gifted children from underprivileged families with free quality education and upbringing. For 7 years now, they have offered individual approach and professional care, excellent facilities and a loving environment to kids who cannot afford much in life to bring them motivationa and confidence.
In 2020, Melon supported the building of new sleeping facilities so that before the start of the school year, they’d be able to admit new kids.
Telerik Academy School provides free education in programming and digital science students ages 7-18 develop key digital competencies and knowledge and become sought-after professionals. They’ve taught 12,000 kids how to code. In 2021, we will fund one of their programs for kids from 8th to 12th grade in Veliko Tarnovo.
2020 was unprecedented. The pandemic affected every business and organization around the world. As part of our efforts to keep our team-members safe, we cancelled all Melon’s live events, including software development conferences, team-buildings, parties, etc. We also saw that many non-profit organizations are struggling either to ensure their sustainability in the times of recession, or to meet their beneficiaries’ new dire needs imposed by the rapid spread of the pandemic. That’s why we redirected our Birthday and Christmas parties’ budgets to two Bulgarian NGOs fighting life-threatening situations. These are:
and their Urgent Fund against Domestic Violence distributed to the Crisis and Consultative Centers across the country, which work on the front lines with survivors of domestic violence and their children, providing them with psychological, legal and social services. It was prompted by the dramatic increase of cases of domestic violence after the introduction of the emergency lockdown in mid-March. The centers needed funds to set up quarantine facilities, additional protection and security measures, emergency PCR testing, additional hours of psychologists and lawyers, technical support for online consultations, etc. Last but not least, the campaign helped to raise public awareness and build intolerance to all forms of violence.
provide psychological and educational support to parents with premature babies, as well as rehabilitation and other medical help. Also, they’re active and engaged in changing the national policies and practices of families with premature babies. Strained by the coronavirus realities, they had to adapt quickly and switch to online consultations. With Melon’s support they were able to provide 100 professional therapeutical sessions throughout the country.
is a daily center for people with Down syndrome opened in Macedonia. They offer rehabilitation and inclusion programs for a people with Down Syndrome in the Skopje municipalities. With Melon’s support they were able to refurbished a room for hydro-therapy for their beneficieries.
As a software development company, long before pinning down our corporate social responsibility program, we’ve been delivering probono software to quality non-profit organizations to help them enhance their social impact. It has been only natural to utilize our developers free time, while waiting for another client’s project, with building the software applications they needed.
(SFF) is an annual film festival which takes place every March in Sofia, Bulgaria. For a month, the festival screens internationally-renowned feature films and documentaries in various theaters. For its 21st edition, Melon developed pro bono iOS and Android applications which complement the website. For the following editions, we’ve been updating the apps, as well as upgrading them with new functionalities on SFF’s requests.
Technokrati is not only part of our CSR program two years in a row, but also, we’re building their new website. It will be not only a presentation of what they do, but also will feature new functionalities like calendars, enrolling in their courses and events, etc.
LoveGuide is providing sexual health education to Bulgarian teenagers. They have sex-ed classes in schools all around the country, as well as diverse online resources – including a highly popular YouTube channel, an educational website and online courses. As they’re unable to answer the piling teenage questions, we designed and developed for them an app for iOS and Android devices, answering 100 FAQ.
Also, we provided them with our own learning management system and uploaded their 4 online courses to it.