In 2008, fashion retailer Esprit made a commitment to help children in India and around the world by supporting SOS Children's Villages.
To celebrate the opening of the SOS Children’s Village Alibaug in Mumbai, India, which was completely financed by Esprit, the company launched "BIG BANG" – a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of SOS and encouraging people to go in store and make their bang count. Hollywood stars Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard have pledged their support to help Esprit reach their target of 3 million bangs.
Eleven Esprit stores across the globe will house a Super Drum, in which customers will be invited to make their BANG COUNT from 5-13 November. In all other participating stores Esprit customers can pick up a drumstick, which will direct them online to a virtual super drum from via www.esprit.com/bigbang. The target is to reach 3 million bangs, at which point Esprit will donate a further 500,000 Euros to the SOS Children’s Village Alibaug. The campaign will launch in all Esprit stores globally in the first week of November, culminating in the BIG BANG Day on the 13th November. BIG BANG celebrations will take place on the streets and in-store in the first weeks of November to drive people in store to make their bang count in the following eleven cities: Amsterdam, Beijing, Brussels, Berlin, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne, New Delhi, New York and Paris.
Oscar nominated actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal and her husband, the critically acclaimed actor Peter Sarsgaard, acted as global ambassadors at the opening of the SOS Children’s Village Alibaug. Both Maggie and Peter are actively involved in human rights, civil liberty and anti-poverty campaigns. Deeply affected by child poverty in many countries, the couple were inspired to be part of the monumental opening of the SOS Alibaug Children’s Village and raise awareness for the good works of the charity worldwide. Speaking of their involvement with the project, Maggie said "Despite the dynamic economic advances India has enjoyed in recent times, it may be hard to accept that India has the largest population of street children in the world with at least 18 million children living or working on the streets of urban India. There are approximately 250,000 in Mumbai alone. The street kids in Mumbai and elsewhere in the world are denied the right to a family and the right to grow up with love and security. Protecting children’s rights is a universal responsibility that requires global commitment from us all. It’s a privilege for Peter and myself to join hands with Esprit and promote the remarkable work of SOS Children’s Villages, which for the past sixty years has continued to provide children worldwide; love, security and a nurturing environment that only a family can provide."
The screen and stage couple officially opened the SOS Children’s Village Alibaug, alongside Esprit’s Chief Executive Officer, Ronald van der Vis. The highlight of the colourful opening was a bhoomi pujan, the celebratory blessing by a Hindu priest. Ronald van der Vis, Esprit’s Chief Executive Officer, commented "Social and charitable commitment is integral to our brand DNA. This is why we have supported humanitarian projects for more than four decades. We are extremely proud of our long-term partnership with the SOS Children’s Village organisation and we want to encourage our customers to interact through The Big Bang campaign. It’s a great platform to share our passion for this cause with our customers whilst raising awareness and funds for SOS."
Currently, there are 39 SOS Children's Villages in India, as well as 15 SOS Secondary Schools, 7 SOS Vocational Training Centres, 33 SOS Social Centres (Family Strengthening Programmes), and 9 SOS Medical Centres.