Our goal is to empower people to do something great and inspire them to do the same for others. That way, every positive action has a multiplier effect.

Rizwan Sajan is the founder and Chairman of Danube Group, which began as a small trading company in 1993. Today, the company is one the most renowned and successful building materials businesses in the United Arab Emirates.

Danube Group’s commitment to social responsibility has been cascaded throughout the family and the entire business, driven by Mr. Sajan’s intrinsic values and his company’s unparalleled commitment to ‘giving back’.

Mr. Sajan’s daughter-in-law Sana is responsible for spearheading the company’s major corporate social responsibility initiative –  the Danube Welfare Center, which is designed to help blue collar workers develop skills to advance their careers.

Sana explains that “It all began with our Chairman, who recognized a serious gap in the education – and, therefore, the capabilities and employment opportunities – of some of our workers. He believed that we could do something important to empower them by giving them the skills they need to succeed in society.

With the passion and strong sense of purpose of the Sajan family, the Danube Welfare Center was created in 2012 as a not-for-profit activity to help blue collar workers develop skills to advance their careers. English language courses, as well as other classes focused on interview skills and building self-confidence were initially offered free-of-charge to Danube’s own employees. The goal was to improve the employment options and success of the company’s blue-collar employees. 

Empowering workers throughout the community

In the Danube Welfare Center’s first graduating class of 40 students, seven received promotions and increases in their income. Seeing the impact that the programs had on the company’s own employees, Mr. Sajan questioned why these opportunities should be limited to Danube’s workers, and the programs were extended to include employees from other companies alongside basic computer classes in a center in the JAFZA South area – all with the goal of improving their employability and social prosperity opportunities.

“It’s all about empowerment,” Sana says. “With new skills and knowledge, workers become more productive, build better lives for themselves and their families and contribute to society. Our focus is not only on Danube Group. Our Chairman encourages us to do things quietly, and without fanfare; to empower people to do something great and inspire them to do the same for others. That way, every positive action has a multiplier effect.”

Amplifying the multiplier effect

The measure of the impact of the programs that have been introduced through the Danube Welfare Center can be seen in the number of Danube workers who have been employed by the company for up to 20 years. “Younger employees see from their seniors that this is the best place to work,” says Sana, “and attracting and keeping the best employees is the best measure of our success.”

In addition to her role in leading the Danube Welfare Center’s continued expansion, Sana is also extending the family’s commitment to empowerment through education through her involvement in the Al Noor School for children with special needs. There she is helping to support the introduction of a variety of community activities in a positive environment to help children with special needs develop future employment opportunities. She is also now leading Danube Group’s expansion in the healthcare sector as director of the company’s American Aesthetic Medical Center.

“Empowerment is something we can give, which is why education is such a major area of focus for us. But it’s equally important for the students to project the impact that the programs have in their own environment, in their personal lives, among their colleagues and the businesses where they work.

“It’s very visible and powerful when empowerment is passed forward, and encouraging that multiplier effect is an important part of our purpose.”

The views and opinions [of external contributors] expressed herein are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International Limited or any KPMG member firm.

KPMG’s participation and contribution in this regard is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.