In November 2016, the CapitaLand – People’s Association Community Development Fund was launched with an S$800,000 donation from the real estate company’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation.
The fund will support underprivileged children in Singapore with their education, healthcare, shelter and living needs to help them reach their fullest potential. In its first year, the fund aims to support 1,000 young beneficiaries identified by People’s Association through three key initiatives: My Schoolbag, which provides beneficiaries with a new schoolbag and basic school and daily necessities ahead of the new school year; Kids’ Food Fund, which provides beneficiaries with one meal per school day over the period of one year; and CapitaLand Little Architect, which is a series of educational activities that aim to inspire beneficiaries to build their dreams.
“CapitaLand believes that by helping underprivileged children, we create a positive multiplier effect for their families and improve social mobility. This has been the principle behind our philanthropy and volunteerism efforts, including our long-standing collaborations with the People’s Association and the five Community Development Councils,” said Mr Lim Ming Yan, President and Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited and Director of CapitaLand Hope Foundation. “The CapitaLand – People’s Association Community Development Fund elevates these collaborations to a national partnership. By tapping on the People’s Association’s extensive ground network, we are able to target our support to children who stand to benefit the most from our programmes and enable them to make a better future for themselves and their families.”
The move was lauded by Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, who officiated the launch event. Addressing the crowd, he said: “[The CapitaLand – People’s Association Community Development Fund] signifies how community and corporate partners care; coming together, pooling resources and playing our part to make a meaningful impact on the physical and developmental well-being of our children from less privileged families.”
Making a meaningful difference
Among the first beneficiaries of the community development fund were 1,000 children from low-income households aged 6 to 13, who received new schoolbags containing school and daily necessities in preparation for the coming school year.
On 3 November 2016, CapitaLand staff volunteers welcomed over 450 of these children beneficiaries at Raffles City Singapore for a fun-filled day of interactive edutainment activities organised in conjunction with the launch of the fund and the fourth CapitaLand Volunteer Day.
The edutainment stations were planned and organised in collaboration with CapitaLand’s business associates and community partners. The stations included a craft session by students from SMU VERTS, a sustainability-focused interest group from the Singapore Management University, where the children made their own stationery holders out of recycled bottles; a CapitaLand Little Architect station conducted by the People’s Association where the children shaped coin banks in the images of their dream homes; and a high-energy exercise station by ActiveSG Basketball Academy and volunteers from SportCares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sport Singapore.
Going shopping with My Schoolbag
The highlight for the children was a simulated shopping experience at a mock shopping mall that CapitaLand set up together with its retail partners.
About 200 CapitaLand staff volunteers accompanied the children as they made their way through the mall, ‘buying’ their school and daily necessities with CapitaVouchers. This gave them the chance to learn basic financial literacy skills and life values such as thrift and frugality too.
For Ascott’s Ng Kai Quan, who was volunteering for the first time after recently returning to Singapore from a seven-year overseas posting, the event concept was refreshing: “It’s great to see the kids participating instead of just receiving. It’s clear that they’re enjoying themselves and that makes my experience here a rewarding and meaningful one.”
Ng spent the morning manning the stationery shop in the mock shopping mall and one of his little customers was 10-year-old Nadhea Qistina.
“I had fun and I learnt to be independent,” she said. “I enjoyed ‘shopping’ at the stationery shop the most!”
CapitaLand Volunteer Day was started in Singapore in 2013 as a platform for staff to come together and give back to society. Since then, the initiative has been expanded to China and Vietnam. In doing so, the Group hopes to encourage a culture of volunteerism among its people.