March 9, 2022

Touch Care Foundation Interview

How a touch of care can make all the difference

Many may not know this story. In the 1970s, a young man named Joe Carreira became a war refugee, when he fled from Angola to Canada. And after a life in the aviation business in the Americas, Joe found his passion for Inflight Entertainment and created Touch. Touch brought many opportunities to change the business, to drive innovation forward, to optimize airlines’ ROIs and to deliver passengers the flight of their lives. But, most importantly, Touch gave Joe an opportunity to give back to the community that raised him. And, thus, the Touch Care Foundation was created.

Let’s imagine we’re in a flight to Huambo, Angola, seating next to Touch’s CEO and Touch Care Foundation President and Trustee Joe Carreira, talking a bit more about their humanitarian work. Here’s how part of the conversation would have played. One of those occasions where we wouldn’t even need to turn on the IFE screen on to have a good time.

Hi, Joe! What’s the story behind the why and the how of the Touch Care Foundation creation?
It all comes back down to giving back to Africa what Africa gave me. The school I went to in Quipeio, Angola, and where I got most of my education, was destroyed during the civil war. I had this urge and sense of obligation to help the children that live there today. Back in 2014 we committed 5% of our company profits to this effort and have since expanded beyond Africa to also help children with special needs in other countries.

We know that Touch is all about helping airlines with its smart Touch. But could you describe what’s the Foundation’s smart touch and how it has affected peoples’ lives?
We recognized that our funds would be better used by focusing in identifying similarly focused Foundations that lacked resources to implement key long term projects they had on the shelf. We identify such Foundations and then we commit to partner with them to finance those projects.

What are some of the most important milestones in the Foundation’s history?
Beyond the very first step of formerly establishing the Foundation in the US, and Touch’s financial commitments to it, a big milestone was when we brought a highly skilled and dedicated project manager to help run the Foundation, to implement processes and to expand our reach beyond Africa.

How has the Foundation navigated 2021, from the proudest moment to the toughest challenge and how it overcame it?
Every project, no matter the size, is a proud moment for us. Still, the one that stands out in 2021 was our decision to partner with World Vision (an NGO with a focus on children around the world) to help facilitate the construction of a water well in Quipeio. This water well now brings clean water to the community and has opened the way locally for future investment in self-sustaining agricultural projects.
As for the toughest challenge we faced it certainly was the impact of COVID, with borders closing and partners severely impacted leading to loss of communication in some cases, forcing changes to the scope of work for some our projects often to support unexpected urgent needs.

As Touch grows and operates more and more on a global scale, the Foundation grows too. What are some of the new projects the Foundation is focused on, and what are some of 2022 plans?
In 2021 we went through extensive training to enhance our governance and financial transparency. For 2022, our biggest project is participation in Brazilian official platforms that help increase awareness of our vision and resources and ultimately lead to a larger selection of NGOs with long term projects that we can select from, and we can commit to finance.
In case of Africa, our main project is the implementation of a Touch Foundation member in the field. This will bring stronger sensibilities to the local needs and challenges and thus enhance the impact and timeliness of our efforts.”

When you work with content for this long, you learn a couple of things about stories: good stories entertain, but the best ones have meaning. The Foundation gives another layer of meaning to the work we do. And, in a sense, from all the smart things we do at Touch, giving back is probably the smartest.

If you’re interested in Touch Care Foundation’s work, check our website for more information.

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