As one of the largest non-profit organisations in the world, Save the Children has helped the lives of millions of children for a century, and thanks to a successful ten-year partnership with Bvlgari, the reach and awareness of the incredible work it does it only growing.
Founded in 1919, Save The Children has become a global powerhouse and is one of the most recognised charities in the world today. Ten years ago Save the Children Italia partnered with luxury jewellery house Bvlgari with a mission to raise global awareness of the charity’s causes and ultimately increase the money raised to help those in need.
This ten-year partnership has given hope to some of the world’s most vulnerable children and the two companies have worked together on 114 projects in 34 countries to date, providing quality education, development, care and emergency response to children in need. This year the partnership celebrates its 10th anniversary by launching a new custom-made silver and onyx pendant, as well as unveiling the new GIVE HOPE campaign with a goal to achieve 100 million dollars of donations by the end of this year.
The pendant itself was inspired by the BVLGARI BVLGARI collection. The hard stone disk is unmistakable thanks to being encircled by the double logo and finished with precious red ruby stone, while on the back is a message of hope. Supporting this, Bvlgari Middle East recently unveiled the first local campaign shot by celebrity photographer Rankin. It portrays regional friends of the brand who are giving a message of hope and raising awareness of the project both through the campaign as well as on their own platforms.
At the heart of the project is Claudio Tesauro, who has held the position of Chairman of the Board for Save the Children Italia since 2008. Tesauro has been at the helm of countless projects since the partnership began, from working in the field himself to partnering with celebrities to help gain momentum for the cause. As a member of the Board of Save the Children International, Tesauro is also closely involved with many of the charity’s project around the globe as well as those related to Save the Children Italia. A lawyer by profession, Tesauro combines his knowledge and background to create solutions and projects for the most needed causes in the world. As Save the Children celebrates this ten-year partnership with Bvlgari we talk to Tesauro to find out more about the project and why he decided to dedicate his life to this cause.
You recently celebrated ten years of a partnership with Bvlgari, what can you tell us about how has the project developed over the ten years?
It has been an incredible partnership, I think one of the most relevant we have ever seen between a luxury brand and a non-profit organisation. Everything started ten years ago when Bvlgari decided to launch the partnership to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Since then it has been very successful, not only in terms of the money raised but also in terms of the projects we could develop – over 100 – almost in every country in the world, reaching out to over 1.5 million children. Providing care and support, teaching them, giving them jobs, help with entering society and being close to them in times of emergency such as the earthquake in Haiti for example.
Are there any milestone moments over the ten years that are particularly memorable to you?
There have been many, and I think this one now is very significant. The launching of the campaign in this region is another milestone that shows how the company has been involved in working with us and the support that we have received from them. I think the next goal is to achieve 100 million dollars in fundraising to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Save the Children which happens this year.
What is in the pipeline for the next ten years?
I think we can increase the level of awareness of what we’re doing and increase the number of people that are supporting us. Making our intervention even more effective in spreading the culture of how a partnership between a luxury brand and a non-profit organisation could be beneficial to the future generations of the world.
What’s the message you are trying to portray with the campaign in the Middle East and how would you like it to be received?
The message is simple. We owe a future to our kids and we have to give them hope, education and a future and make sure each of them has a chance to play out their future in the correct way. I think it is unacceptable that the future of a child depends on the place they are born and it is totally unacceptable that so many children are still dying today before the age of five for causes that are still easy to fight. I think we have to move on and we have a great challenge before us but I also think we can make it so we ought to try it.
What do you think Save the Children can do to help in the region and are there any particular projects you’re working on in the Middle East?
We’re working on several projects. The idea of Save the Children is that the projects are developed according to the local needs. What we’re doing in Syria for example in the refugee camps together with Bvlgari is extremely interesting. We built four kindergartens for children in the camps which act as an island to support the growth of these children who have been deprived of their essential needs.
What can you tell us about the jewellery piece designed by Bvlgari – were you involved in the design?
No, everybody has to do his job – we know how to help children and Bvlgari knows how to do jewellery! So the best possible partnership is when everyone does what they do best, but all of the jewellery Bvlgari has designed so far for Save the Children, starting from the first silver ring to the new collection, has always been extremely successful and helped to promote the partnership to a very high level.
What first inspired you to dedicate your life to the charity and to children?
It’s funny because it happened by coincidence. I always liked children and at a certain point, somebody asked me if I wanted to join the board of Save the Children. I’m a lawyer by profession and I was working at a large law firm and I thought that coupling my experience with the experience of a non-profit organisation would be nice. Then at a certain point, there was a need to renew the board and they asked me to become chairman.
I thought ‘I can’t, I don’t have enough time’, but I knew that that year I was going to Vietnam to adopt my first child and so the Director General convinced me. He said, “think about how nice it will be to one day tell your child that the year you went to pick him up in Vietnam was also the year you became the President of Save the Children”. So he convinced me with his romantic idea and since then it has been a great love. I think it has been the most enriching experience I’ve ever had.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
Whenever I see that our work has been capable of changing the life of a kid. This could be because you have helped the mother to be a good mother or helped the child getting out of malnutrition or helped to educate a child to improve his future.
I remember one time I was in Uganda with Bvlgari with Ben Stiller visiting the project. There was this local young man who was telling Ben Stiller about the programme that Save the Children was running in the country and Stiller asked him “do you think this works?” And the guy looks at him and says “yes, I’m one of the children that attended the programme.” So that is the best possible example of something that did work. He was totally integrated into society, educated and ready to tell, in English, to a celebrity what the programme has done for him.
What’s the most challenging part of the job?
Today migration has become a strong political issue and the organisation has always been under scrutiny. I think we should not let that influence our activity and we need to keep going straight to protect children’s rights, just making sure that we are as transparent as we need to be and that our results are easy to measure, visible and concrete.
How has technology and social media helped your mission?
It helps our mission in the sense that it helps spread the awareness of what we are doing. Of course, we all know that there is a complex side of social media that we all have to face. It changes the way you talk and reach out to people, but it is also an incredible tool and there is a level of awareness that you can raise through social media. So for us, it is a very essential way of talking to people.
How do you keep your team and the people around you motivated when you are dealing with such tragic topics?
That’s a very good question. I remember the first time I visited a project myself, I was mostly concerned about our staff and the fact that they were exposed to this continuous challenge. We give them support in different ways, we are very professional in that way. This is also the reason why I think we need to be professional when you are on the field dealing with children. Volunteers can do many other things, but the moment you are talking about a project that you need to implement with children you need to have a high level of professionalism. Those professionals have to get support after what they see. I still carry with me in my mind images of things I’ve seen which I will never forget and they changed my life for sure.
What motivates you the most?
I think we owe children a future and while I don’t think we can give all of them a future, we have to give them all a chance. I was a lucky boy, I had a proper education so I could get the job I wanted and I think everyone else should have the same possibilities. It is totally unfair that the destiny of a child depends on the place he is born and investing in the future of the children is investing in our future so it’s as simple as that.
What would you still like to achieve with Save the Children?
Many things! It would be a long list fortunately which makes my life very interesting with many challenges still to come!
What’s the motto that you live by?
I don’t have a motto but I think that you have to live day by day, putting your profession and your skills in place but catch the beauty of every day.
What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned since working with Save the Children?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that everybody could give back, no matter where you are and what you do, there’s always something you can do. The importance of giving back is essential and it makes the world run in the right way.
Are you reading a book at the moment?
I just finished a book on the life of Eglantyne Jebb who was the founder of Save the Children 100 years ago. It’s called The Children of Our Enemy. This is because when she created the Save the Children fund in 1919 she did it to help the kids in Germany and Austria who were dying of starvation and famine after World War One. What was incredible was that she launched that campaign in a very unique way in England, asking English people, who had lost many people during the war, to support the children of their enemy.
It was not only an incredible cause but it was very unpopular at the time and she was very inspiring. I have to say it was very interesting to me to see that many of the characteristics of our organisation today resonate in the history of the organisation from 100 years ago.
How would you recommend people can get involved and help?
I think there is much room to help. First of all, everyone should do it in the way they feel they can. I think you get into charity by bringing your own experiences which is very important. So please support our campaign in as many different ways as you can, from local fundraising to communication to awareness. There are lots of ways you can help us and we need that.