When did ENGIE's interest in the Cantania project begin?
ENGIE and the ENGIE Foundation have been supporting Bozar since 2005. We are very proud to do so because Bozar occupies a special place on the Belgian cultural scene; it is a multidisciplinary, open place that brings together the arts and society, promotes access to culture in all its forms for everyone, and is resolutely European. Access to culture for everyone and help for children have been among the priorities of our Foundation for 30 years now. This is what attracted us to the Cantania project, a participatory vocal project for children from the 4th to the 6th year of primary school that anchors singing into the classroom in the long term, as it boosts self-esteem and respect for others and improves the feeling of cohesion between the children. This reaches 600 students and their teachers each year. It is a project shared between students and teachers. The performance given each year in front of the public (families and friends) in the Henry Le Boeuf Hall, accompanied by professional soloists and musicians from the Belgian National Orchestra is a very emotional moment. It is a programme whose impact can be measured and it makes our sponsorship very meaningful.
What guides us in our choices is the impact, the ability of a project to change things.
Financial support, and much more... What is ENGIE's involvement?
What guides us at the ENGIE Foundation is the energy to share, to bring our partnerships to life by combining them, by bringing together worlds that sometimes never meet. Bozar has been the setting for these meetings. We enabled caregivers from Erasmus and Saint-Pierre Hospitals and their families to discover the Keith Haring exhibition during the COVID-19 crisis. We brought together young people from troubled districts of Brussels to co-create a mural with a local artist for National Day. We also supported the organisation of the preview of the film Women by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with more than 2,000 participants.
Why support a project like Cantania?
What guides us in our choices is the impact, the ability of a project to change things. Cantania has this ability to mobilise. Cohesion and the will to achieve a common goal are at the heart of the project. From my own experience, I am very attached to giving everyone a chance. At ENGIE, this is a requirement. We make it a point of honour to contribute to building a fairer, more sustainable and inclusive world. The ENGIE Foundation works in Belgium on the theme of youth inclusion through culture. The Cantania Project is fully committed to this goal.
The ENGIE Foundation supports a lot of projects, including Cantania. What about the future?
In Belgium, the ENGIE Foundation has supported 74 associations over the past five years, and 85,000 children have benefited from the programmes supported in the country's three regions. Priority is given to projects that promote the inclusion of young people through education, culture and sport as well as projects related to the fight against global warming. There are two calls for projects each year and they allow us to diversify the support allocated by the Foundation in Belgium, to give a chance to those whose work is in line with our values. We support certain projects over the long term. The Cantania project and its objectives are fully in line with the Foundation's mission.