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The CSR project IMEX Challenge Slovenia 2012 was completed successfully with its participants feeling amazed and inspired. Between 2 to 4 July 15 volunteers from the meetings industry built a beehive for 390 mentally and physically disabled children and adults residing at the CUDV Training, Occupation and Care Centre in Draga by Ljubljana, who will now be able to participate in raising bees and harvesting honey.


"I'm very excited that I'm a part of such an inspiring initiative. I must admit that idea of building a beehive for people with special needs was for me a challenge in itself," said Sarah Kavanagh of Ovation Global DMC, one of 15 volunteers from Ireland, Great Britain, Spain, Poland, Germany, Finland, Iceland and the United States. Tatjana Radovič, head of the Ljubljana Tourism / Convention Bureau, described participation in the project as an amazing experience, but even more important is the fact it will help increase visibility of one of the most vulnerable social groups.

Volunteers donated funds in amount of €25.000 and, in addition to constructing the beehive, also renovated the nearby educational trail and greenhouse in which the disabled children will now be able to grow honey plants. Donor funds will also enable production of educational materials on beekeeping for children with mental disabilities.

"We know that building a beehive with half a million bees will not only be an invaluable experience for children and adults at the Draga Centre, but also an opportunity for much needed additional income for the people with special needs," said Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX. "We are pleased with our cooperation with Slovenia on the IMEX Challenge project. Local partners in the project put in a lot of their time and resources which multiplied our initial donation, so we are very grateful for their support."

Local partners who last year managed to convince the organizers of IMEX Challenge to support this innovative and inspiring project, are CUDV Centre Draga, Beekeepers Association of Slovenia, Slovenian Convention Bureau, agencies GO.MICE and Compass, Grand Hotel Union, Jezeršek Culinary House and Ljubljana Tourism / Convention Bureau.

The project, which was endorsed by the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, the Mayor of Ljubljana and the British Ambassador to Slovenia, is a best practice example of successful integration among various walks of life and of corporate social responsibility with a common goal to improve on a small but meaningful part of our everyday life.

"The acquaintance with beekeeping meens an enrichment of knowledge and a higher quality of life for people with special needs, as well as for everyone else." said Valerija Bužan, director of the CUDV Centre Draga. "Taking care of bees and natural environment will help the residents of the CUDV Centre Draga gain self-confidence and involve creatively in the social environment," concluded Anton Tomec of the Beekeepers Association of Slovenia.

More information about IMEX Challenge Slovenia is available at the official website of the project