Spring into action as a community

Although curfews, social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions were still in place across the Netherlands, two groups of volunteers found ways to make a difference.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues into 2021, Aramco is keen to continue its community outreach programs safely and as much as possible – even in these challenging times.

At the beginning of spring, Aramco Europe employees based in The Hague took part in two volunteering activities. These celebrated two important dates in the Dutch calendar: National Pancake Day on 19 March and National Clean-up Day on 20 March.

The activities were also chosen to reflect Aramco's ongoing commitment to the local community and the environment.

National Pancake Day

For Pancake Day, 10 volunteers cooked pancakes for the elderly residents of a nursing home in The Hague on 18 March. Our volunteers followed COVID-19 safety guidelines by wearing protective face masks and setting up their cooking equipment in the garden.

As pancakes are often associated with a special occasion or eaten as a treat, everyone at the nursing home enjoyed those made fresh by our volunteers. On that day, they made around 250 pancakes and served them with a variety of traditional toppings.

Kamal Khodor Alcheikh, from the Corporate Communications division, manages volunteering activities at Aramco Europe.

Kamal said: “Even though we had limited contact with the residents because of COVID-19, it was obvious they appreciated that the gesture was for them, and it was delicious too!”

The activity also created a cheerful atmosphere and offered human contact at a time when people are feeling more isolated than ever.

Kamal said: “It meant a lot to the elderly residents for our volunteers to visit and make pancakes just for them. Some have been cut off from their families during the pandemic.

“Being able to interact with other people outside, in the garden, while eating pancakes, brought them some joy.”

“It meant a lot to the elderly residents for our volunteers to visit and make pancakes just for them. Some have been cut off from their families during the pandemic."

Kamal Khodor Alcheikh, Corporate Communications, Aramco Europe

Prasad Eapen, from the IT Security Engineering team, was delighted he could be part of this feel-good activity.

Prasad said: “My wife and I enjoyed participating as volunteers during the pancake lunch for the elderly. It was particularly satisfying for us because we've been unable to visit and support our own parents and family back in India due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.”

National Clean-up Day

For the second activity, 14 volunteers gathered on the Scheveningen beach in The Hague on 20 March as part of National Clean-up Day. On this day, people across the Netherlands are encouraged to organize clean-up activities – as a group or as an individual – to look after and create awareness about their natural environment.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been spending a lot more time outside for recreational pursuits – such as walking, running, cycling, and picnicking. And while outdoor activities are good for health and wellbeing, they have unfortunately created more litter than usual in places such as parks, nature reserves and beaches.

Therefore, keeping our surroundings clean and beautiful have never been more important.

Our volunteers, some joined by family members, walked along the Scheveningen beach to pick up any litter they could find, including plastic bags, disposable cups, and face masks.

One of the volunteers, Peter van der Kolk, a Trade Compliance Specialist, was surprised at the quantity of litter he spotted during the clean-up activity.

Peter said: “It was unbelievable how much trash people left on the beach – two garbage bags in 60 minutes, and the beach season has not even started!”

In the end, after covering 2.2km of this well-known beach, our volunteers collected around 70kg of litter – which amounted to 14 large bin bags full of waste.

Kamal said: “By doing this cleaning up activity, we were reminded of the importance of respecting, protecting and caring about our environment.

“Our volunteers got to know each other outside of the work setting. They were happy to give their time to take part, as colleagues and as families, for the benefit of their community and the environment – it was definitely something they would do together again.”

Aramco Europe is looking forward to continue its other volunteering programs this year, such as working with schoolchildren and teachers on other environmental topics.

Find out more about Aramco’s citizenship programs.