The #100KHopeHours Carnival attracted over 1,600 volunteers all keen to play their part for charity
The #100KHopeHours Carnival attracted over 1,600 volunteers all keen to play their part for charity

Where can you enjoy free snacks and live entertainment with your family and colleagues, rub shoulders with TV and sports personalities and play fun games - all while contributing to a good cause? The CapitaLand #100KHopeHours Carnival offered that and more to over 1,600 volunteers.

Held on 3 October at Raffles City Singapore, the carnival was also a special SG50 edition of the CapitaLand Volunteer Day cum Family Day 2015, which was opened to family and friends of staff, the company’s business associates and the public for the first time.

Earlier that day, the organisers had to cancel a planned five-kilometre experiential heritage trail due to the deteriorating haze condition. The trail would have started from Capital Tower, taking participants through some of Singapore’s historic sites and CapitaLand’s iconic properties – Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, Clarke Quay, Plaza Singapura and Raffles City Singapore. The idea is for participants to learn more about the country’s history and understand the hardships faced by disadvantaged children by taking part in experiential challenges.

Giving Hope Through Hours

The year-long #100KHopeHours is CapitaLand’s key global volunteer initiative for 2015. It received overwhelming support from the community, garnering over 200,000 pledged volunteer hours – surpassing its 2015 target ahead of schedule. This also doubles the target of 100,000 pledged volunteer hours set by CapitaLand in March to mark the 10th anniversary of its philanthropic arm CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF) this year. As part of the initiative, CHF committed to donate $10 for every volunteer hour pledged. Together, the series of #100KHopeHours activities earned S$1.3 million in donations from CHF to benefit children’s charities this year.

Mr Lim Ming Yan, President and Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited and Director of the CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), said: “With over 200,000 pledged volunteer hours garnered from all facets of the community, we are confident that this will not be a one-off effort and our spirit to volunteer remains strong. There are many other disadvantaged members of society, and we hope that our initiative will continue to spur volunteerism within CapitaLand, as well as among other organisations and the public.”

To further advocate the message that everyone can play their part for charity, online games were specially designed in the lead up to this event, where members of the public can play them and earn donations for charity in the form of 'hearts'. The aim of the games was to allow participants to get a sense of some of the hardships faced by the visually and hearing impaired, as well as dyslexic children. Each completed game play earns a ‘heart’, which translates to S$5 in donations.

At the carnival, Mr Lim presented a cheque of S$300,000 to the Guest-of-Honour, President Tony Tan Keng Yam. The money would go towards aiding the beneficiaries of the President’s Challenge 2015.This is in addition to the S$1 million donation CapitaLand earlier committed to benefit underprivileged children in Asia.

Several organisations including MediaCorp, OMD Singapore and Dentsu Aegis Network Singapore, as well as non-profit organisations SportCares Foundation, Care Corner Singapore, Dyslexia Association of Singapore, The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, The Singapore Association for the Deaf, and iC2 PrepHouse also came on board to support the #100KHopeHours Challenge and to pledge volunteer hours. For their efforts, these nine organisations were recognised as Champions of Volunteerism at the event and received tokens of appreciation from the President.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam said: “Besides earning donations for charities, this event provides a platform for CapitaLand's corporate partners, their staff and families, and the community to bond with one another. It is also a wonderful example of how corporates play an important role in contributing towards the building of a cohesive and caring society.”

Learning Through Experience

At some of the game booths, participants took part in experiential activities such as learning of simple sign language, walking blindfolded and deciphering messages that simulate the reading difficulties faced by dyslexics. Through these activities, they better understood the challenges faced by the deaf and hard of hearing, the visually impaired as well as dyslexics in our community.

“Our organisation is looking for more volunteers to add on to their over 240-strong staff. This event has helped bring greater awareness to our cause in helping people with dyslexia. We are very delighted to be part of such a major CapitaLand event,” Dyslexia Association of Singapore’s CEO Lee Siang shared.

It proved to be a mean feat for CapitaLand staff volunteer, Lee Mun Ling, who freely admitted to struggling at the game. “So much effort was put into reading it that comprehension was compromised. When I was asked a question, I could not answer it, even though I had actually read the passage,” said Lee who is currently based in CapitaLand's Shanghai office and volunteers at the company’s various corporate social responsibility activities.

Lee adds, “CapitaLand has always encouraged staff to engage in volunteerism, and this is yet another wonderful opportunity to give back to the community.”

Another staff volunteer, Lee Wan Chee and her family of six even had the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrity emcees Pornsak and Kate Pang in an on-stage pop quiz.

It was clear what the highlight of the day was for the youngest member of the family, eight-year-old Lee Xin Hua. She said: “The part I liked most was when I went up on stage to answer the question: ‘Who is the Guest of Honour?’” For getting the answer right, she was rewarded with a CapitaLand #100KHopeHours T-shirt personally autographed by Pornsak. Her family joined her on stage as they engaged in light-hearted banter with the hosts.

For staff volunteer Lee Shu Yen, the carnival was a good platform to teach her children some values.

“It’s a good chance for the young kids to learn about giving and loving the less fortunate. I want to teach my son the value of giving while he is still young,” she shared.

Staff volunteer, Kevin Siew, who brought his entire family said: “It is a great idea to combine CapitaLand Volunteer Day with our Family Day. We spend a lot of time at work, so allowing our families to be part of what we do gives them an opportunity to share the company’s values. This will be the first time my three young children are exposed to volunteering! I believe that incorporating the element of fun into volunteering will really encourage more of us to be more actively involved in the community.”

Marlina Bte Ali, another staff volunteer, said: “I appreciate that CapitaLand is always thinking of new and innovative ways to engage us in volunteering; there’s something new to look forward to every year! It is great that my four children can learn while having fun at the same time. I hope that the understanding they gain of the hardships faced by disadvantaged children through today’s event will spur them towards volunteerism.”

The President’s Award for Volunteerism and Philanthropy (Corporate)

On 14 October 2015, CapitaLand was conferred the President’s Award for Volunteerism and Philanthropy (Corporate) for its strong commitment towards helping underprivileged children via engaging, innovative community programmes supported by staff volunteers and funded by donations from its philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF). Conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore and organised by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), this was the first time an award category was introduced to recognise the significance of complementing philanthropy efforts with volunteerism by an organisation.

Mr S R Nathan, Chairman of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, said: “The inaugural President’s Award for Volunteerism and Philanthropy (Corporate)… marks a decade of CapitaLand Hope Foundation’s unwavering commitment to ‘Building for Tomorrow’. Since its inception in 2005, CHF has donated more than S$23 million to support underprivileged children in their education, shelter and healthcare needs. It is heartening to know that our corporate giving programmes have benefitted at least 100,000 children across Asia. Some of these programmes involve long-term financial support and education, which have resulted in improved academic results and behavioural performance. In this 10-year journey, we have also gone beyond donations to advocate volunteerism. To date, we have organised more than 1,200 volunteer activities. In 2014 alone, staff of CapitaLand put in more than 28,000 hours to do volunteer work.”

As a strong advocate of volunteerism, CapitaLand is one of the first companies in Singapore to formalise a three-day Volunteer Service Leave system. When a staff fully utilises all three days of service leave within a year, CHF makes a donation to a registered charity in Singapore or China designated by the staff in recognition of the volunteer efforts.

For a company who lives by its credo of ‘Building People. Building Communities.’, the President’s Award and initiatives like #100KHopeHours are milestones in its fruitful 10-year journey of improving the lives of underprivileged children in Asia - and it looks like there’s no stopping CapitaLand.