At the close of 2020, we at Respilon hoped that the new year would be much calmer. We believed that the coronavi- rus epidemic was already on its way out and that this unwelcome microscopic guest would stop interfering so much in the lives of people throughout the world. Unfortunately, events proved that wish would not be granted. Further waves of Covid swept through the population, threatening not only the lives and health of millions of people, but also their liveli- hoods, family relationships, leisure time activities, and any plans or dreams.
At Respilon, we were humbled by this reality. At the same time, however, with the awareness that we wanted to help that much more intensively to reduce the impacts of the pandemic for those who were hardest hit by it. We wanted with all our might to support our long- term partners, but at the same time leave our doors open to new ones. After prior experience, we were better prepared for the situation. Production lines in Brno, which we installed and began to test in mid-2020, increased the independence of Respilon from international imports and allowed us to respond more flexibly.
And while the global market absorbed the vast majority of the production of nanofiber respirators, our capacity for charity also expanded. A welcome bonus were the not-for-sale samples or fully functional respirators, which we took off the market during quality control due to some cosmetic defects which in no way affected their performance. Through our charitable activities, we were able to help thousands of individuals who could then live each day without fear of infection. Newly introduced products such as the RespiRaptor became another component of our help. Thanks to its innovative “fish shape”, it fits people with different facial proportions, which makes choosing sizes easier. In 2021, we also introduced its self-sterilizing VK version – very useful during a pandemic.
And then there was our proven R-shield neck gaiter, which I personally like for a couple of reasons. The first is that wearing it induces no negative emotions, especially in places where other respiratory protection is not used, which is why it is a favorite for people with weakened immunity. And another reason is that the fabric around the nanofiber filter offers a canvas for creativity. Thus we can pro- vide special designs for our partners and their organizations, in order to support a good cause not only visually, but also financially – Respilon has been donating a portion of sales of these special R-shields to certain non-profit organizations for several years now. The idea has proven success- ful, which is why we will carry it over to other products and expand the program to new partners.
In addition to protecting those most at-risk against the coronavirus, of course we did not forget other areas where nanofibers can help, due to their unique qualities. Our products protected the breathing passages of people living in places with heavy air pollution, allowing those suffer- ing from allergies and asthma to breathe freely: we traditionally focus on people with weakened immunity – from cancer patients to cystic fibrosis sufferers.
And in that very time when the pandemic was toying with everyone’s fate, we started to focus on other groups. On those who have found themselves in unenviable life situations – whether due to losing their jobs, health problems, or poor mental health. I, too, became more aware of how much the general uncertainty, fear, and the imposed restrictions negatively affected people – both physically and mentally. That’s why during 2021 at Respilon, we focused on helping those who need it in order to overcome difficult times and get back to normal life.
One example can serve for all. Our partners include the non-profit organization Magdaléna, which specializes in prevention and treatment of addictions. Every kind you can imagine. It would be very easy to judge someone who succumbs to temptation and descends into addiction – whether it be narcotics or risky behavior. At Respilon, we refuse to think that way. We understand that otherness is a part of life. We know that if that otherness does not affect us, we often have the tendency not to notice it, to overlook it. The Fates sometimes weave their threads in such a way that we find our- selves in situations which we previously ignored – because they did not concern us. And we never know when we might be in that situation ourselves. This is why at Respilon we want to treat people in difficult phases of their lives with love, acceptance, and respect. We know that when they feel it from us, they will be able to instill it in themselves. To accept a helping hand, and fight for oneself.
Few realize that this form of charity activity is no one-sided gesture. It’s about mutual aid and synergy. Everything we do enriches us, too, expanding our horizons and creating a different life context. When we help someone, both parties are improved. In such relationships as these, everyone wins. Joy, a future, inspiration, and hope. And that is exactly what corporate – or anyone else’s – social responsibility should be all about.