Children’s laughter is perhaps the most wondrous sound in the world. But what of children who cannot hear their own laughter? There are some who live in a silent, muted world, isolated from the cornucopia of daily life. To help these less fortunate young ones, CapitaLand China took to the streets in a show of solidarity.
The ‘Building for Tomorrow · Walk for Hope’ Experiential Charity Walk is organised annually by CapitaLand China to give back to the community it serves. The Beijing leg of this year’s edition was flagged off by Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, on 16 January 2016 at Raffles City Beijing. This marked the simultaneous start of five charity walks held in five cities where CapitaLand operates — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan.
Almost 3,500 participants, comprising Chinese officials, senior management and staff from CapitaLand, as well as celebrities, business associates and community volunteers supported the event. Beijing Paralympics Ambassador Dong Ming, actors from critically acclaimed stage show company Mahua FunAge, popular Guangdong TV presenter Deng Lu and others also lent their star power to the walk.
Walking into their world
The experiential nature of the walk gave participants an opportunity to feel what it is like to live with a hearing impairment. They were given headsets to wear during the walk, which hindered their ability to hear properly and helped them to gain a deeper appreciation of the challenges and struggles hearing-impaired children face on a daily basis. They also listened to recordings that are typically used in the rehabilitation process.
“From the headset, I could hear someone speaking, but there was a lot of background noise which made it hard to decipher the actual message. This exercise helped me empathise more with the hearing-impaired and I hope to do something to help them in future,” shared Wang Heng Yi of CapitaLand China.
“It was definitely a memorable experience. Like many people, I tend to take my hearing for granted. This event has reminded me not to take something as basic as my five senses for granted. I am glad that by supporting the ‘Building for Tomorrow · Walk for Hope’ Experiential Charity Walk, I am doing my part to help children with hearing impairments,” said Cai Beijin of CapitaLand China.
Making a real difference
For every participant who completed the walk, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), CapitaLand’s philanthropic arm has pledged to donate RMB200. The Group also held a number of online public donation activities to get the wider community involved in this meaningful cause.
With the participants’ support, CHF is donating a total of RMB1 million (S$215,000) to help children in China with hearing impairments on their journey to recovery. This will be disbursed to at least five hearing rehabilitation centres in the five cities where the walk was held. The funds are expected to go a long way in financing much-needed equipment for the centres to support their children beneficiaries in their treatment and to help them lead more fulfilling lives.
In addition to monetary aid, CapitaLand also prepared a gift of hope for its young beneficiaries. Leading up to the event, it partnered China’s most popular audio-streaming platform, Ximalaya FM, on an online campaign to rally its 200 million users to share stories or songs of hope and encouragement through an app. The most inspirational entries are being compiled into a gift for the beneficiaries. The gift is a set of different audio materials that can help in the rehabilitation process which the beneficiaries listen to with the help of an artificial cochlea.
Committed to the cause
CapitaLand’s first experiential charity walk was organised in 2014 in conjunction with its 20th anniversary in China. At the time, over 3,000 participants walked a combined distance of over 21,000km to raise RMB500,000 (approximately S$108,000) for underprivileged children in China. This became the Group’s first CapitaLand Volunteer Day in China, which aims to encourage China-based staff, stakeholders and friends to partake in a day of community service.
CapitaLand Volunteer Day was first launched in Singapore in 2013. In October 2015, the Singapore CapitaLand Volunteer Day was held in conjunction with the finale of the #100KHopeHours Challenge. This 10 th anniversary initiative by CapitaLand Hope Foundation sought to encourage people to pledge time for charity work. Having garnered over 200,000 pledged hours, more than twice its target, the Foundation donated a total of S$1.3 million to benefit underprivileged children in Asia.
CapitaLand is also the first company in Singapore to formalise a three-day Volunteer Service Leave, Volunteer No Pay Leave and Volunteer Part-Time Work Arrangement. In 2014 alone, over 3,100 CapitaLand staff made good use of their Volunteer Service Leave, dedicating more than 28,000 hours to various volunteer activities in Singapore and the region.
To learn more about CapitaLand’s corporate social responsibility efforts, please visit www.capitalandhopefoundation.com .