An SMS that saves lives

The ULMA Foundation launches an SMS fundraising campaign to fight malnutrition in displaced and refugee children

This pioneering initiative is being run in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Today it is calculated that 50 million people worldwide have been forced to abandon their homes due to war, natural disasters and repeated violations of human rights. This is the highest figure known since the end of the Second World War.

Some of these people have sought refuge within their home countries, but for others the only solution has been to cross borders and start a new life under unknown skies. Half of them are children.

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the average length of stay in a refugee camp of a person who has been forced to abandon their home is 17 years.

The ULMA Group has collaborated with the UNHCR by running a campaign aimed at its workers and members, which consists of raising funds to enable a highly nutritional complex called Plumpy’Nut to be purchased and distributed to needy children.

Plumpy’Nut is a mineral and vitamin-enriched peanut paste that can help a child gain a kilo a week by eating three bars a day.

“The idea is for each worker to contribute what they can. With one euro we can feed a child for a day”, the UNHCR’s Manager in the Basque Country, Marta Areizaga, explains.

A pioneering campaign

The UNHCR had already launched previous campaigns in collaboration with private initiatives in Spain, but the ULMA project is a pioneering scheme as it is the first time a specific proposal has been organised for such a clear-cut aim. The Basque UNHCR delegation contacted the ULMA Group in view of its vocation for aiding economic and social development.

“I have a good knowledge of the cooperatives’ social commitment. We contacted ULMA because of its proven social responsibility”, Ms. Areizaga affirms.


A simple proposal had to be designed for the campaign to succeed, so the mobile phone SMS fundraising system was chosen. All participants have to do is send the word ULMA to 28014. The cost of the message is €1.20, 1 euro of which will be spent on feeding a child for a day. However, there are also other ways to contribute, and anyone wishing to make another type of donation can make a cash deposit into the account ES42 3035 0081 36 0810045602, with the word ULMA as a reference.

The initiative began on 22 May and will end on 19 June. All the messages sent will enter a prize draw for 10 double tickets for the ULMA Foundation’s next activity: a visit to the Arrikrutz caves on 11 July.


The ULMA Foundation is aware of the importance of this campaign and has consequently also launched a number of initiatives to publicise it among its workers and members, with the aim of achieving the highest possible participation.