press release May 20, 2008

Essl Social Prize Offers Former Street Kids a Professional Future

In March 2008 the Essl Social Prize with an endowment of EUR 1 million was awarded for the first time. The prize-winner was Georg Sporschill with his organization Concordia and the Casa Abraham project. On May 20 is the ground-breaking ceremony for the residence and vocational training center for former street kids in Ploiesti, Romania.


As part of the ground-breaking ceremony on May 20, Martin and Gerda Essl, the founders of the Essl Social Prize, will lay the cornerstone for the Casa Abraham vocational school in Ploiesti. The project will benefit former street children who found a new home in the Concordia facilities, which have been around for 16 years now. Many of the some 500 charges have arrived at an age when they need to make a career choice. At Casa Abraham they are trained to become bakers, carpenters, farmers and teachers. This well-grounded vocational training will offer 24 youths new prospects and pave the way for a life of self-determination.


The building will be constructed on the grounds of Concordia – the City of Children in Ploiesti and includes classrooms, a common room with kitchen facilities, lodging for youths as well as a chapel and an apartment for a caregiver. There is a model preschool where the budding teachers can get practical job experience by caring for the youngest in the Concordia family. Casa Abraham is slated for completion in December 2008.


The prize money from the Essl Social Prize will be used to finance the project. This international social prize is a private endowment donated by Martin and Gerda Essl (the owners of bauMax, Austria) and valued at EUR 1 million. The prize is awarded once a year to finance projects from private social initiatives and social entrepreneurs. This year the prize was bestowed on Father Sporschill for the Casa Abraham social project.


bauMax at a Glance:

bauMax is a family business that began operations in Austria over 30 years ago. Today, bauMax is market leader with a total of 130 home improvement stores in eight Central and Southeast European countries. Five of these home improvement outlets are located in Romania. In 2007 the company employed a staff of 8,285 employees and generated EUR 1.25 billion in sales revenue.


For any questions: Dr. Monika Voglgruber, Public Relations, Tel.: +43(0)2243/420-9149; info(at), Klosterneuburg/Ploiesti, May 20th, 2008

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