In the air Friday, September 14th 2012
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…" we read in the magnificent and masterly story of The Little Prince. Roses and responsibility for others are also central to Jaeger-LeCoultre's A Rose for Emergency in support of the maternity hospital which the non-governmental organisation Emergency opened in 2003 in Anabah, Afghanistan.
Actress Cristiana Capotondi, the patroness of this initiative, visited the Emergency Maternity Centre in Anabah © Diambra Mariani – Prospekt Agency
The centre is always full, Cecilia Strada, president of the NGO, observes: "To date, the centre has given consultations to 68,000 women, delivered 11,000 babies, performed 3,600 surgical operations, provided pre-natal support to Emergency's first-aid posts throughout the Panjshir Valley and in neighbouring areas, and brought assistance to the most remote villages. But the value of the centre goes beyond numbers. It is also measured on the faces of the all-female staff who work there: the expatriate gynaecologists and obstetricians, and the thirty-five Afghan personnel we have trained."
Thus Jaeger-LeCoultre again joins forces with Emergency for a major humanitarian project. Knowing that more than 300 babies are born at the Anabah centre each month, it's easy to calculate that with an average of ten births a day, over a hundred children came into the world during the Venice Film Festival. Jaeger-LeCoultre funded the maternity hospital for the entire duration of the Festival, with help from the celebrities who attended.
Why a rose? Because all Emergency's centres in Afghanistan stand in beautiful gardens, and the Maternity Centre in Anabah has a magnificent rose garden. Jaeger-LeCoultre imagined two watches - a lady's and a men's Grande Reverso Ultra Thin - to symbolise the project by personalising the back of each with a lacquer rose. The watches were worn on the red carpet by famous Italian actors and actresses, longstanding advocates of Emergency who wished to show their support. They were joined on the red carpet by fifty personalities from the Festival who carried a rose as a symbol of this action, and of love and solidarity. The watches will be auctioned by Christie's in Milan, in April next year, and all proceeds donated to Emergency to continue financing the Centre.
In Anabah, the remarkable experience of pregnancy and childbirth must adapt to what are often dramatic circumstances. Perhaps the mothers and their babies are comforted by the beauty of these roses. Through this project, Jaeger-LeCoultre once again shows that corporate responsibility isn't just for marketing but is an effective means of quenching the thirst of human needs.
As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry teaches us, a rose is forever and no more so than when we give it a more profound signification. By associating the rose with Emergency and the Maternity Centre in Anabah, Jaeger-LeCoultre has made it a sign of hope and commitment: much more than an investment and doing more good than in any bouquet. ■