September 30, 2010 13:35 ET

Esprit Makes a BIG BANG-a Global Call to Action With the Support of Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 30, 2010) - In 2008 Esprit made a commitment to SOS Children's Villages to help children in India and throughout the world. The focus of the partnership is to prevent children from being abandoned by their parents.

To celebrate the opening of the SOS Children's Village Alibaug, a village completely financed by Esprit, the BIG BANG is launched – a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the charity project and encouraging people to go in store and make their bang count. Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard have pledged their support to help Esprit reach their target of 3 million bangs.

The banging of a drum is a universally recognized symbol of celebration, as well as being a symbol of global strength and unity. The sound has been called many things by many cultures. The Hindus call it Nada Brahma, Esprit prefers the BIG BANG, and it's inviting its customers to take part by making their Big Bang count.

11 Esprit stores across the globe will house a Super Drum, in which customers will be invited to make their BANG COUNT from 5-13 November. In every other participating store Esprit customers can pick up a drumstick, which will direct them online to a virtual super drum from via

The target is to reach 3 million bangs, at which point Esprit will donate a further 500,000 Euros to the SOS Children's Village Alibaug. The campaign will launch in all Esprit stores globally in the first week of November, culminating in the BIG BANG Day on the 13th November.

BIG BANG celebrations will take place on the streets and in-store in the first weeks of November to drive people in store to make their bang count in the following eleven cities: Amsterdam, Beijing, Brussels, Berlin, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne, New Delhi, New York and Paris.

Oscar nominated actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal and her husband, the critically acclaimed actor, Peter Sarsgaard, are to act as global ambassadors for the opening of the SOS Children's Village Alibaug.

The couple was inspired to be part of the monumental opening of the SOS Children's Village Alibaug and raise awareness for the good works of the charity worldwide.

Speaking of their involvement with the project, Maggie said: Despite the dynamic economic advances India has enjoyed in recent times, it may be hard to accept that India has the largest population of street children in the world with at least 18 million children living or working on the streets of urban India. There are approximately 250,000 in Mumbai alone. The street kids in Mumbai and elsewhere in the world are denied the right to a family and the right to grow up with love and security. Protecting children's rights is a universal responsibility that requires global commitment from us all. It's a privilege for Peter and myself to join hands with Esprit and promote the remarkable work of SOS Children's Villages, which for the past sixty years has continued to provide children worldwide; love, security and a nurturing environment that only a family can provide.

The screen and stage couple will officially open the SOS Children's Village Alibaug, alongside Esprit's Chief Executive Officer, Ronald van der Vis. The highlight of the colourful opening will be a bhoomi pujan, the celebratory blessing by a Hindu priest.

Ronald van der Vis, Esprit's Chief Executive Officer, commented: Social and charitable commitment is integral to our brand DNA. This is why we have supported humanitarian projects for more than four decades. We are extremely proud of our long-term partnership with the SOS Children's Village organization and we want to encourage our customers to interact through The Big Bang campaign. It's a great platform to share our passion for this cause with our customers whilst raising awareness and funds for SOS.

Philanthropy is at the heart of Esprit's brand DNA

Success is an obligation; Esprit has been convinced of that for a long time. And the brand loves giving back, especially when others gain a new and better perspective on their future through these efforts. For years they have been supporting social institutions and projects that work with children and youngsters, irrespective of their nationality, faith or background and who help them change their circumstances.

The most prominent example is SOS Children's Villages. Orphans and abandoned children find a safe home in the SOS Children's Villages where they can grow up in an SOS family with a feeling of security. After many mutual initiatives in recent years, we've been so convinced of the SOS concept that we wanted to be engaged even more.

Esprit has entered into a long-term partnership with the SOS organization; they teamed up with them and build and maintain a complete village in Alibaug. Here, on India's southwest coast, close to Mumbai, a new home for 140 children was built. There will be a kindergarten — also for other kids in the neighborhood — and there will be a social centre. It will give single mothers in the poor surrounding communities the support they need to build an independent future for themselves and their children.

Esprit's employees are very involved in this partnership. Everyone is informed about the project's progress and, in the typical Esprit way; they roll up their sleeves and help.

In the new SOS Children's Village Alibaug, 140 abandoned children will find a safe, new home. The village consists of fourteen family homes offering space to live and grow.

In this nurturing environment, a child can be a child, and find the security and help to develop into a responsible and life-affirming human being. Around 600 families find what they need in the social centre next door.

About SOS Children's Villages

SOS Children's Villages takes action for children as an independent, non-governmental and non-denominational social development organization by providing family-based care for children who have lost their parents or can no longer live with them.

SOS Children's Villages also supports vulnerable children and their families through family strengthening programs, which aim at ensuring access to essential services and provide health, educational, and psychosocial support. Furthermore, SOS Children's Villages operates emergency relief programs with a specific focus on the support of children and women. SOS Children's Villages operates in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Dr. Christian Gruenler of SOS Children's Villages, said: Our partnership with Esprit is unique. Esprit has decided to focus on support in India, but has also donated generously for our emergency response in Haiti and other projects of SOS Children's Villages. Esprit trusts the expertise of our educational staff, in our profound experiences in alternative care and social services for families. We have proved to be a reliable partner due to our six decades of work all over the world and our commitment for long-lasting changes in the life of children everywhere. Moreover, the Big Bang campaign is highly creative and we anticipate the outcome with great excitement.

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