The Rafael Bernabeu Foundation, the social welfare foundation at Instituto Bernabeu, has been working towards helping to improve health, well-being and financial conditions in society since 2007. Support programmes for patients with financial difficulties, scholarships and long-term support for various NGOs and academic and medical institutions are just some examples of the work which is carried out “as part of our commitment to the people of Alicante.” To the company, “social responsibility is a must.”
The foundation was set up at almost the same time as Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante. Whilst work went on in the reproduction and fertility clinic, the needs of the local population surrounding the medical group as it grew and became more consolidated became clear. It was the company’s closest reality, its closest community, the people who could potentially one day walk past one of the groups newest branches. IB began donating part of its financial resources and this increased as the institution grew. Along with the company’s growth and strength came the decision to provide this giving spirit, which had been active for many years, with a more formal structure. The Rafael Bernabeu Foundation was born in the cold month of January 2007 with the aim of providing different causes and adverse circumstances with warmth and solutions.
“Our patients and everyone in the IB team are participants in this support aimed at the very same society which has enabled us to grow and to which we wish to return the favour,” says the Rafael Bernabeu Foundation. Since it was set up, its work, donations and activities have grown and centred around three core areas: health, training and financial support for NGOs.
Committed, quality healthcare with the patient always at the forefront has been the driving force behind Instituto Bernabeu. This philosophy has been passed on to the Foundation where one of the main objectives is to help couples fulfil their dream of having a child. Sometimes, a hereditary illness in one of the parents or even in both members of the couple makes having a healthy child impossible. Instituto Bernabeu is aware of this and has a Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis programme with the aim of detecting the genetic abnormality behind such hereditary illnesses. Through this programme, the Foundation offers patients financial as well as moral support. Another health-related line of work which the Foundation has developed is the possibility of freezing eggs free of charge in the case of patients undergoing cancer treatment. “If we can preserve their eggs, we are helping towards their life plans,” the Foundation explains. The institution also collaborates with other activities in the field of health such as the donation of assisted reproduction treatment for patients with financial difficulties.
The next large area on which the Rafael Bernabeu concentrates its efforts is education since, in its opinion, “the basis of society is in the cultural and intellectual education of its citizens” and progress within that society “is linked to understanding.” With this in mind, university scholarships for Medicine, Biology and Nursing students have been launched for the second time this year. In 2015, five scholarships of this kind were granted to students studying these degrees in order to help them pay their university fees. Additionally, the institute has continued to provide financial, material and moral support to Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Chiropody students’ national congresses. The Foundation has also organised numerous free training courses such as the Nursing and Reproductive Medicine Event held at the University of Castilla-La Mancha.
In line with these activities in support of education, the Foundation has organised the sixth edition of the children’s art competition on maternity. According to the organisation, the aim is to “encourage creativity in children and reward their effort.” In past editions, this competition has received up to 800 pieces of artwork by children from all the provinces in which IB has a branch.
Thirdly, but equally as important, is the Foundation’s support which stems from the very early days of NGOs and charities. In 2015, the Rafael Bernabeu Foundation has provided financial and any other necessary support for Nazaret Alicante (a charity which supports families in risk of social exclusion in the Alicante area), Aldeas Infantiles España (homes for children and young people who are unable to live with their families), Doctors Without Borders, Foundation 1000 (in support of cognitive defects), Ayuda en Acción (a charity which supports people suffering from poverty, exclusion and inequality) and Proyecto Hombre (support for people suffering with addictions). “To us, the Foundation is a social angel since, as well as financial support, they are keen to know more about what we do and make suggestions. We have a close, long-standing and participative relationship. Without the Bernabeu Foundation, our perinatal care programme would be much smaller than it is, or even impossible to sustain,” explains Nazaret Alicante’s Director, Miguel Ángel Segura. To him, the Foundation and its team “are partners in this journey and that’s the virtue of the Rafael Bernabeu Foundation: it’s a long-term partner and it’s a social investment. Just as they improve the quality of life of people in terms of maternity and paternity, we improve society in our own way and, in this sense, we come together in our aims of improving society and this reinforces our relationship.”
As a result of all this work, the company from Alicante has been awarded different prizes such as the Future-generating Company prize awarded by Aldeas Infantiles España or having recently been named a Nazaret Alicante collaborator for its work with children and young people. The Confederation of the Physically and Organically Handicapped in the Valencia Region (COCEMFE) has awarded the Foundation a prize for its “excellent scientific research work” and “so that its important work does not go unnoticed.”
The Foundation’s work goes beyond the three lines of work in activities which, in one way or another, bring together these three large areas: health, education and support for NGOs. One such example is the organisation of the Women and Society Forum which has already seen 5 editions and which aims to speak out on behalf of women’s need and challenges in different realms of society but to also be a springboard for women’s abilities, achievements and strength. Renowned figures from different areas of international society have participated in the Forum.
Every year in the month of March, the Foundation also organises an annual lyrical concert to mark Women’s Day. Thousands of people gather in the the Adda de Alicante’s symphonic room where a renowned soprano interprets pieces with a connection to women and maternity.
The music brings the numerous activities which the Rafael Bernabeu Foundation Social Welfare programme carries out to a close. These activities increase and intensify each year and includes work on health and maternity, education, training for young children, young people and experts as well as activities aimed at providing financial and moral support for a great number of charitable organisations. The work with the Foundation carries out is, therefore, wide-ranging, diverse and constantly expanding whilst always maintaining a clear and stable aim: to improve and grow society on all levels.