Katerina Belorusskaya: How the Parimatch Foundation gives back to the community

Giving back to the local community and supporting charitable causes has been a core feature of the Parimatch DNA according to Katerina Belorusskaya, Chairwoman at Parimatch Foundation

Speaking to SBC, she explained that important for gambling operators to implement their social corporate responsibility at the local level, with a focus upon ‘taking care of the future generation.’

Can you tell SBC readers a bit more about why the Parimatch Foundation was created?

The creation of the fund is a balanced and very informed decision that came to us back in 2018, but it took some time for it to mature and form a concept.

In essence, the Parimatch Foundation is a continuation of social corporate responsibility which has been followed by Parimatch for 25 years. Helping others and charity have always been a part of our corporate culture; it is embedded in the company’s DNA.

The creation of a separate (non-profitable) structure allows us to keep our focus and do not random “good actions”, but to implement well-thought-out, long-term programs that are aimed at solving a specific problem. Thanks to this we know exactly what impact we are bringing to society.

Also, one of the significant reasons why the fund was created is to be an example of how business, the public sector and public organizations can be united around solving specific social problems. Partnership is a key principle of the Parimatch Foundation.

Why is it so important for gambling operators like Parimatch to support local communities?

This is important for any large business. And it works in all directions. Firstly, I believe that any large company that needs to develop the community where its clients (customers) and its employees are located, it is important to implement their social corporate responsibility at the local level. Then the business will feel the result of the CSR activities, because all the main stakeholders will be involved and their living standards will improve due to the investment of the business in society.

Can you give us an example of some of the work that the Foundation has done?

For almost a year, we have managed to do quite a lot. For example, we launched a comprehensive program (“Yes, I Can”) aimed at supporting children with disabilities by involving them in sports. It turned out to be especially relevant for Ukraine, since the number of children with disabilities is extremely high and not everyone gets decent conditions. In addition, there is a problem of understanding and attitudes towards disability in society, which especially hurts children. Unfortunately, children with disabilities often have to deal with stigma and discrimination in society, which leads to irreversible consequences on a psycho-emotional level.

As part of this program, we support the talented children of athletes with disabilities by providing them with monthly scholarships, which provides them with the opportunity to continue to play sports and achieve new victories. Also, within the framework of the same program, we, together with Sakhtar Social, conducted inclusive football training for children with mental and psycho-emotional disorders (autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, etc.) in four cities of Ukraine. It really helps these kids to socialize and develop.

Also, for almost a year in Cyprus we have been supporting the KidIT program. These are weekend classes for children from 5 to 12 years old on the basics of programming. A very useful thing for children and it helps a child to understand why he needs a personal device, such as for example a tablet. 

It is important that the child understands that this is not only for the game, but that he himself can create something if he makes an effort. Two groups of children work on weekends at the central office of Parimatch in Limassol, of course, our employees also have the opportunity to bring their children to the groups.

There are many other projects that we managed to do, mainly all of them are related to sports and the development of the child through involvement in sports. Because sport is a great tool for unlocking a potential in childhood. 

Sport directly affects the child’s physical development and promotes healthy habits, improves the child’s psycho-emotional state and fosters leadership qualities, as well as understanding what healthy competition and tolerance are. That is why we focus on unlocking the potential of the child by teaching him/her and involving him/her in sports.

In 2020, we want to focus on this. And to achieve the maximum effect, we will work with children, motivating them to engage in physical activity. We plan to motivate through gamification and popular among children bloggers (opinion leaders). 

With physical education teachers and trainers, giving them new, modern tools to work with school children. That physical education lessons became more interesting and children wanted to go on them. And with parents, explaining to them the advantage of an active lifestyle for their child.

What can the industry learn from initiatives such as this?

That you need to take care of the future generation. One dollar spent on a child development programs returns to society under the guise of a reduction in social spending by seven dollars.

Programs aimed at ensuring the healthy and full development of children are the direct investment in the economic and social well-being of society.

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