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2018 in Review: EPAM’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives

News:

Every year, EPAMers around the world volunteer their time and expertise to support various social, educational and environmental causes in their local communities. For the past few years, EPAM has continued to prove time and again that our values drive us to be our best within our communities.

EPAM Reaches Final Round for United Nation’s Partnership for Sustainability Award

EPAM’s eKids programs in Ukraine and Belarus made it to the final round of consideration for the UN Global Compact’s Partnership for Sustainability Award in the “People” category. In total, 35 companies from Belarus, Georgia, Poland and Ukraine submitted their projects to be evaluated against the following criteria: impact on society (25%), partnership (25%), project sustainability (25%) and innovation of the project (25%). Although EPAM was not selected for the award, it’s very inspiring to be up for consideration as a finalist and receive recognition for the great work we’ve done to support children’s education initiatives in Ukraine and Belarus as well as all around the globe. We remain committed to providing creative learning opportunities for children across our global locations.

EPAM Armenia: eKids Trainings

More than 40 children from different schools in Yerevan and nearby cities, including children from families in need, took part in the two ‘Programming with Scratch’ events, organized by EPAM Armenia. Children learned about Scratch—a programming language for kids—and the projects they can use Scratch to develop. The trainers introduced two games created for this event and walked children through their implementation. The kids were excited to create working games and their parents eagerly followed their children’s progress. The day ended with a closing ceremony during which the children received certificates and gifts. The events were very heart warming, and the kids left the event with a lot of positive memories.

EPAM Belarus: Initiatives in Minsk, Gomel, Mogilev, Brest, Grodno and Vitebsk

eKids

The EPAM eKids program in Minsk is a coding curriculum across three experience levels focused on teaching the Scratch programming language to children between the ages of 7 and 17. Currently, Minsk is in the middle of its 8 program with 82 EPAM volunteers, who have experience teaching coding to 400 children, including children with special needs.

The Minsk office hosted an eKids meetup in August 2018. It was a gathering of educators, volunteers and IT specialist driven by their passion for volunteering and early education who wanted to learn with and from each other about how they can support computational creativity in children. The program also promotes social equity by reaching kids in the SOS Children's Village in Borovlyany. In addition, we invited teachers from Minsk schools and universities to become active members of the EPAM educational community and volunteers for the eKids events.

The eKids program has seen huge success early in the region. Currently, three new groups are starting in Mogilev (Juniors learning Scratch, Middles learning JavaScript and Seniors studying C++) with 18 children, 14 employees' children and 16 children from the No. 3 Gymnasium School. In Gomel, a total of 87 children, 78 of whom are children of EPAM employees and the other nine are from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), are studying Java Script, Python, Scratch at eKids Garage under the supervision of 14 mentors and 9 assistants. Another eKids program launched on October 8, 2018 in Brest and focused on Scratch, Kodu Game Lab, Python and Robotics. This semester, 16 children and five coaches participated in the program. In Grodno, six coaches taught 25 kids the basics of Python using Arduino kits to program a toy car. For more advanced scenarios intended for a more mature students in class levels 9-11, they use raspberry pi boards with a development kit.

Social Innovation Initiatives

EPAM runs an in-house Carbon Footprint Calculator to increase awareness about our global carbon footprint and how our daily routines contribute to it. Some EPAMers developed a tool to calculate and reduce our production of carbon dioxide. The users short take a quiz that asks questions about their workstation and lifestyle, then the app provides them with personalized advice on how they can reduce their carbon footprint by making changes to their lifestyle. Take a second to check out how to contribute to carbon production here!

EMPATHY Platform

The purpose of the EPAM-Care project is to develop a charity platform that provides EPAM employees with an easy option to participate in charity events and to give donations. We developed the EMPATHY platform to support the passion and commitment of 25,000+ EPAMers across the world. EPAMERS can use the platform to donate money to charities and causes they believe in.

EPAM Bulgaria: A Dynamic Last Few Months

eKids

Volunteers from EPAM Bulgaria organized an eKids Scratch event as a part of the International Code of Week. They visited a primary school to teach basic coding skills to 150 children. The team also just announced an eKids Scratch Hackathon.

Rails Girls & Charity Quiz

Two other remarkable CSR initiatives that took place in November 2018 include the support of the Rails Girls event, a program designed to teach young women to code, and the second edition of the EPAM Charity Quiz. The EPAM Charity Quiz gathered the entire Sofia team together to answer fun questions and raise money for a charitable cause. We used the funds raised during the event to purchase food and clothes for children without parents. In total, EPAMers donated enough money to purchase a month’s supply for three children’s homes.

School Opening

EPAM Bulgaria also supported the opening of a high school for software development in the city of Burgas, the first of its kind in the country. Our EPAM Agile coaches volunteered their time to teach children coding skills and the most important principles behind Agile methodology.

EPAM Canada: Goes the Distance with 5K Run, Food Drive, Clothing Donation and eKids program

Charity Run

The EPAM Toronto office took part in 36th annual Toronto Corporate Run. 11 EPAMers ran 5 kilometres to support Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers. Not only did employees run for a good cause, but they also enjoyed the friendly networking with their peers, some pizza and a beautiful sunset.

Thanksgiving Food Drive

Following Canadian Thanksgiving traditions, our EPAM Toronto employees had a food drive to give back and support our local community. We donated 303 items of food to the North York Harvest Food Bank.

Dress for Success

The Toronto office is collaborating with Dress for Success, a worldwide organization that helps to find jobs for the unemployed and provides professional outfits from head to toe for those attending interviews and just starting work. We believe that people should have a second chance to prove themselves and contribute to society the best way they can. That’s why EPAMers at our Toronto office will donate professional clothing as well as resources to process the donated clothes. Who knows? Perhaps a pair of donated shoes might just be what some needs to get their foot in the door to a prosperous future!

eKids in Toronto

Fifteen EPAM Toronto employees mentored two classes of 7th graders at a local school. A total of 65 students were divided into teams of 2-3 people, selected a theme, created sprites, rules of winning and losing, a background, music, etc. During the event, volunteers from EPAM  mentored the students on project management, splitting the work and, of course, on coding!

EPAM China: Many Different Initiatives

Code4Good Hackathon  

In November, Shenzhen EPAM organized its 2nd hackathon in China with the theme “Code4Good.” There were 83 participants attending the 24-hour coding competition. In 24 hours, participants developed a prototype to support one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that would contribute to making the region a better place, such as software that supports kids’ education and environmental protection.

It was a fun competition with enthusiastic developers, designers and creative people with lots of new ideas. Participants joined the hackathon as individuals or on teams of up to five people, met with industry experts and pitched their ideas. The individuals or teams with the best proposals received prizes.

eKids China

In 2018, we further developed our eKids program to include a new topic on robotic coding education. The program runs over four consecutive Saturdays in November in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou. Thirty-three EPAM volunteers spent precious time mentoring 25 kids over the course of eight lessons for a total of 16 hours.  The kids learned basic coding concept at the beginning and then how to make use of coding for programming a robot. In addition to classroom lectures, we designed few relevant games and exercises to promote a more interactive learning experience. The program also provided Chinese-English translation to make the learning process more accommodating for students and their parents.

We’ve received so much great feedback from parents who praise the program for exciting their kids about learning computer programming. One parent said, “My son loves the course so much and it is very interesting, thank you and looking forward for the next eKids activities!” Parents praised EPAM for all of the hard work that went into making the initiative a huge success.

EPAM Hungary: New Challenges

Experience-Based Programming

The EPAM Szeged office launched a course for university students in teacher training programs at the University of Szeged. The course, led by our colleague Martina Horvath, focuses on experience-based programming for kids at EPAM. It aims to popularize Scratch as a method and tool for teaching children about computer programming. We currently have eight participants from the university this semester.

Scratch Hackathon

The Szeged office also organized the fifth eKids hackathon during the EU Code Week. Sixty kids on 15 teams used coding to create a project in one of three topics: Transportation and orientation in Szeged, responsible pet care, or food waste management. The winning projects are the following: 1st prize went to the RMG team from Miklos Radnoti Secondary School for working on Transportation and orientation in Szeged; 2nd prize went to the Kuk-Aszok team from Janos Arany Elementary School who worked on Food waste management; and the 3rd prize went to LLAMA’s team at the Denes Gabor Secondary School for their work on Responsible Pet Care. The event was such a huge success and we experienced so much interest, that EPAM Hungary launched a countrywide online Scratch competition.

eKids Events

In Budapest, the eKids program participated in the EU Code Week, featuring many great programs, such as Minecraft, Scratch programming classes as well as LEGO EVO and ArTec robotic workshops. More than 150 kids from 10 schools visited our office for a tour of the EPAM campus and to participate in one of our coding and robotics workshop.

’No Food Waste’ 

“No food waste” was the topic and motto of the first external social hackathon organized at the EPAM Budapest office. The event aimed to celebrate World Food Day, raise awareness of excessive food waste and help minimize it. Ten groups participated and came up with many great solutions and raised awareness of this global problem.

EPAM India: Partners With The Confederation Of Indian Industries (CII) To Identify And Support Schools Educating Impoverished Students

This quarter, EPAM helped to setup computer and science labs at the TSWR school in Chitkul, Hyderabad. Mrs. Shamilka Samarasinha, EPAM’s CSR Global Head, was the chief guests in attendance for the inauguration of this program on November 14, 2018, which happens to be Children’s Day in India. This computer lab will facilitate the digital education of 650+ female students studying in class levels 6-12. To aid in the education of these students, EPAM India appointed a dedicated trainer who will oversee the students through their lessons on computer coding and Scratch programming.

Additionally, we reached over 1,000 economically and socially challenged schoolchildren through medical camps. These camps provided basic medical check-ups and health seminars under our community development initiative. We also donated 600 storybooks to each of the five adopted schools, which will help over 2,000 students to improve their reading habits. In conjunction with these efforts, we also conducted story writing and drawing competitions and awarded prizes to the winners. Around 300 students participated in the reading competition and more than 150 students participated in the drawing.

EPAM Kazakhstan Participates in The UNICEF Hackathon

The EPAM Kazakhstan team members were excited to become mentors in the Youth4Health Hackathon organized by UNICEF Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The hackathon brought together 240 participants from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, India and the Ukraine. Under the guidance of experienced mentors from the US, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Italy, participants developed digital solutions in healthcare that provide equal opportunities to all segments of the population.

EPAM United States: New Events

eKids in San Francisco

Over this past year, our EPAM Mountain View location hosted two eKids events. During both the spring and fall we welcomed two different groups of students to eKids program to attend a total of 10 classes. During each session, we divided them into three groups for different levels of coding skills based on their grade levels. In addition to the typical eKids classes, we arranged a special program for the Boy Scouts of America. In total, we have six EPAMers volunteered as tutors to support this program. The final session for 2018 occurred right after Thanksgiving and was followed by celebrations and special gifts for kids, including EPAM pins, diplomas and finishing with balloons, candies and special gifts.

Global Code Retreat

Roughly 25 engineers from EngX Mountain View location participated in the Global Code Retreat this year on in November. Global Code Retreat is a day-long intensive practice event focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design, without the stress that accompanies the pressures of ‘getting things done!’ for a project or customer. During the event, participants began with a simple programming problem – Conway’s Game of Life, and work with different partners to solve the problems.

Women’s Leadership Initiative Webinar: Designing for Cognitive Bias

EPAM invited David Dylan Thomas, host of The Cognitive Bias Podcast, to talk about how understanding the nature of biases and ways to overcome biases benefits our customers and the solutions we design.

3% Conference Live Stream

The Philadelphia office attended a live stream of the 3% Conference, which is dedicated to exploring and driving diversity in the creative industry. The conference featured several keynote presentations on a range of topics, including changing the status quo in business, becoming a great creative leader, and how to tackle biases within the creative process.

Camden Code Day

This fall, EPAM again joined forces with Hopework’s-N-Camden for their annual Camden Code Day! This year, EPAMers from our DSED UX and Project Management disciplines delivered workshop presentations to Hopework’s youth with the goal of sparking the interest of these young people and empowering them to become the next generation of technologists!

EPAM Poland: Active Involvement

Poland Business Run

EPAM sponsored, organized, and participated in the Poland Business Run in five cities: Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Katowice and Warsaw. This run is organized to raise awareness and help people with mobility impairments. Poland Business Run is one of the biggest charity events in Poland.

Cycle to Work

EPAMers from the Krakow office participate in the “Cycle to work” initiative organized by the Municipal Services Department. The purpose of the campaign is to promote cycling as a daily means of transportation to reduce the number of cars in Krakow.

eKids In Poland

In November 2018, EPAMers started Autumn e-Kids in three locations: Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw. Krakow and Gdansk offices hosted two workshops: Scratch basics for beginners and advanced classes for kids who have already participated in the beginners session. Advanced classes include 3D printing, Arduino course and robotics lessons with Lego. Overall, 13 trainers and 68 kids participated in the e-Kids program in Poland.

EPAM Russia: Great Enthusiasm

Education Programs

The colleagues in EPAM Russia have been very active with the eKids education programs in the second half of 2018. The project launched courses in four cities: Saint Petersburg, Ryazan, Samara and Saratov. The children learned how to program on Scratch, Python and Java, they had robotics clubs. The programs currently has 60 volunteers and 163 participating kids.

eKids Online Conference 

The first eKids Online Conference united 40 teachers and volunteers for the eKids program from six different cities: Izhevsk, Ryzan, Samara, Saint Petersburg, Tver and Saratov. Participants shared best practices as to the education process and discussed the special aspects of conducting courses for different age groups.

Samara Eco Event

Volunteers from the EPAM office in Samara held an eco-event. They collected garbage from forest parks, town squares and the Volga river banks. The total collected waste weighed more than 4,000 kg. We have attended meetings with initiative groups of our ECO community regularly to discuss proper nutrition, ecology and environmentally friendly recycling of household waste. As a result of one of them, we decide to participate in blood donation initiative.

Ryazan

In 2018, we started recycling program by collecting fluorescent lamps, paper, plastic, lithium batteries. We also participate in the program "Dobrye kryshechki" or “good caps,” collecting plastic bottle caps to be recycled. Volunteers from the Ryazan office participated in the state program "Bolshaya uborka" or “big cleaning,” helping to clean up the city's central park. They also planted new trees near the city, giving the start to a new tree area.

EPAM Ukraine: Reaching Children with Special Needs & Reducing Plastic Waste

Education

EPAM Ukraine led several education initiatives for children in 2018.

EPAM Ukraine continues to partner with local NGOs to bring children with down syndrome or living in difficult circumstances to KidsWill, a  play city where children learn professions, get jobs, get paid, open a bank account, choose a mayor. On November 20, 2018, 20 kids discovered new professions and some even experienced coding! Overall, EPAM Ukraine sponsored visits of approximately 150 children for the entire year. A big "Thank you!" to Kidswill, CF Caritas Kyiv and CF Down Syndrome for the joy, care and the fun time for the kids.

From June through September of this year, EPAM Ukraine partnered with BEQA, a social initiative created to teach IT courses to people with physical disabilities. Seven EPAMers provided consulting and educational support in the Software testing course. They help to educate, mentor and evaluate the participants. Thank you to all EPAM specialists who agreed to join the project! We are proud to have you as part of our EPAM family.

Over 3,200 students from 48 Ukrainian schools learned about IT through JointIT, and many EPAMers are a part of this educational initiative across Ukraine. From September through October 2018, 43 EPAMers participated in JoinIT project. Developers, testers, and designers introduced students to the world of technology.

The new wave of eKids Ukraine began this fall! Over 200 students ranging from ages 8 to 16 in five different cities learned SCRATCH, Python, HTML and other programming languages. More than 70 EPAM experts volunteered their time and efforts to share knowledge with the new generation.

Environmental Awareness: Use Your Own Cup

Plastic pollution is one the most serious threats to our environment. Plastic creates toxic waste exposure in every phase of its life cycle. The scale of problem created by plastic cups and bottles is growing in correlation with our population. For this reason, EPAM Ukraine supports a “zero waste” policy by reducing the use of plastic and paper cups in the office by 30%.

To achieve this goal, EPAM Ukraine launched an internal promotional “Use Your OWN Cup” campaign with the hashtag: #GreenEPAM. The promo entailed eight videos and posters featuring opinion leaders from across our Ukrainian offices. As a result, cup consumption at the Kyiv office was down by 20% from July to August, and in September the cups economy in Kharkiv was 25% and 20% in Lviv.

Giving to the Children’s Hospital

In addition to the education and environmental projects, EPAM Ukrainian also showed support for the children’s hospital. EPAMers collected money for air conditioners and equipment during the WellBeing fest for OHMATDET children’s hospital. During the Well-Being Fest 2018, EPAM Ukraine partnered with UCF Krona to raise funds for the Orthopedics and Traumatology Department at the Okhmatdyt hospital. Now children hospital chambers have air conditioners. This will enable the hospital to conduct surgeries during the summer months without concerning about temperatures in the hospital. The extra funding went to purchasing separate parts for a fibreoptic bronchoscope, which needed repair.