CapitaLand Group’s first CapitaLand Volunteer Day in conjunction with its 13th anniversary
200 senior management and staff rolled up their sleeves to provide 20 homes of the underprivileged with a “makeover”
Singapore, 15 November 2013 – CapitaLand Limited’s President & Group CEO, Mr Lim Ming Yan, flagged off 200 Singapore-based CapitaLand staff, including senior management, for its first CapitaLand Volunteer Day this morning. The full-day volunteerism initiative is held in conjunction with CapitaLand’s 13th Anniversary.
A group-wide volunteerism initiative, the company provided staff time off from work to contribute towards enhancing the lives of underprivileged children. CapitaLand volunteers were divided into teams to refurbish and provide the homes of beneficiaries with a “makeover” by giving their walls and ceilings a fresh coat of paint. Refurbishment work includes cleaning, painting, improving lightings, and rearranging, repairing and assembling furniture. In addition, the beneficiaries will also be presented with desks, chairs, study lighting and fans to create a well-lit study area for their children to have a conducive learning environment.
CapitaLand, through its philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), has identified beneficiaries under Beyond Social Services, Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre, ISCOS (Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd)’s Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Fairy Godparent Programme and Thye Hua Kwan Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar. Student Advisory Centre (SAC) is providing logistic support through its Home Improvement Programme to CHF. Besides funding from CHF to refurbish the homes, CapitaLand is also dedicating 1,700 man hours to CapitaLand Volunteer Day through the Volunteer Service Leave - paid leave for staff to do volunteer work - taken by staff volunteers.
Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO, CapitaLand Limited, said: “We are pleased to have 200 staff volunteers taking part in CapitaLand Volunteer Day where we will help to improve the living environment in 20 homes. This is in line with our credo of ‘Building People’, where we believe that a better living environment including a conducive study area will help boost the children’s desire to learn and their confidence to realise their full potential. Ultimately, we hope that through better education of the children we could help these families break out of the vicious cycle of poverty and social exclusion.”
“To encourage greater staff volunteerism, we allow our staff to take up to three days of paid Volunteer Service Leave each year. We are prepared to make such a big commitment in terms of our staff resources as we believe that it is not just about financial assistance but also about genuine care, concern and effort. Such staff volunteerism will also help to create a shared bond among our staff to contribute positively towards the society. Our aim is for CapitaLand to not just be a commercial success but also to be a company with a heart and a soul. ”
Jennifer (not her real name), mother of Diana (not her real name), a beneficiary of the CapitaLand Volunteer Day home improvement project, said: “We are very happy to be a beneficiary of CapitaLand’s home improvement project. My family is especially thankful that CapitaLand is helping us during this difficult period. This ‘new’ environment will provide our children with a more comfortable home. With new study desks and chairs, we will start making the effort to organise the space at home for a more conducive learning environment.”
Children beneficiaries under the initiative also received gifts in a form of educational items or household necessities worth up to S$250 through SAC’s Children’s Wishing Well programme. Prior to today, CapitaLand staff volunteers took time to visit the beneficiaries over the weekends to understand the families’ needs and assess the level of refurbishment needed at each of the 20 homes. The teams also discussed work allocation for today and sourced for items including mattresses, bookcases, wardrobes and storage boxes to help keep the beneficiaries’ home comfortable, organised and less cluttered.
Ms Janet Yeo, a CapitaLand staff volunteer, said: “I’m happy to support CapitaLand Volunteer Day. I participate regularly in CapitaLand’s volunteering activities as I feel that doing so provides me with a great sense of satisfaction. Helping others has certainly enriched my life. The help we provide today may be limited, but it is a good start to improve the children’s living conditions. A conducive study area will encourage them to be even more driven in performing well at school. I look forward to participate in CapitaLand’s future volunteering initiatives.”
Mr Eric Wong, a CapitaLand staff volunteer, said: “I have participated in various volunteering activities organised by the Group and was eager to sign up as a volunteer for CapitaLand Volunteer Day. It is encouraging that we can take Volunteer Service Leave and take a day off work to do good. I am very glad and proud to be a CapitaLand staff volunteer. This is a meaningful initiative made possible by strong support from the senior management and I appreciate CapitaLand’s commitment in contributing to society. I strongly believe that our efforts today will help the beneficiaries, especially the children, by showing them that the rest of us in the community care for them."
CapitaLand actively promotes volunteerism in its people, in line with its corporate values of building people to build for people and caring for the community. In fact, CapitaLand is one of the first companies in Singapore to formalise a three-day Volunteer Service Leave (VSL) policy in May 2006. It has since expanded its leave policy to include Volunteer No Pay Leave and Volunteer Part-Time Leave. Not limited to VSL, over 2,182 CapitaLand staff volunteered 2,330 days, or more than 19,000 hours, and interacted with over 35,000 children beneficiaries supported by CHF across Asia in 2012.
CapitaLand Volunteer Day is a key event in the series of community development activities rolled out over the months of October and November to commemorate the Group’s 13th anniversary. The other initiatives include the launch of Kids’ Food Fund, where CHF is partnering People’s Association to provide children beneficiaries with at least one healthy meal every school day in 2014, My Schoolbag and a group-wide international volunteer expedition to Sichuan, China to build homes for residents affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake which hit Qionglai City in April this year.
Since its inception in 2005, CHF has donated over S$21 million to support programmes for the education, healthcare and shelter needs of underprivileged children up to 16 years old.
Please refer to Annex A for details of the voluntary welfare organisations CHF is supporting for CapitaLand Volunteer Day and Annex B for profiles of selected beneficiaries.
Voluntary Welfare Organisations
Beyond Social Services
Beyond Social Services is a charity dedicated to reducing delinquency among children and youths from less privileged backgrounds. It provides guidance, care and resources that enable families and communities to keep their young people in school and out of trouble. We are currently operating in five different rental housing areas with a view of facilitating mutual help and a strong community spirit among residents. We believe that when more residents begin looking out for each other, their efforts will go some way toward creating a neighbourhood where children and youths are resilient against negative influences. Our teams are currently in a small part of Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Ho Swee, Henderson, Lengkok Bahru and Whampoa.
Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre
Kampong Kapor Family Service Centre serves in a community that has a large number of people residing in rental housings. We have proactively reach out to these residents in our community, especially families with multiple concerns, to better support them and build our community using a family oriented approach in our core services: Information & Referral and Casework & Counselling. In response to our residents’ needs and concerns, our FSC has also developed programmes that support the community for the children, elderly residents, young mothers and families with many school going children.
Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd (ISCOS)
ISCOS is a Co-operative that helps ex-offenders reintegrate successfully into society. Established in 1989, ISCOS has over 13,000 members who have benefitted from various programmes and initiatives, such as: Job Placement & Employability Training, Support & Guidance in the community, Children’s Education and Family Support, and other member-related services.
ISCOS also extends assistance to the families of ex-offenders, particularly young and impressionable children. Through the Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Fairy Godparent Programme, it provides holistic academic support so that these children can have a better future.
Student Advisory Centre (SAC)
Student Advisory Centre is a children and youth charity that cares for young underprivileged families. The centre was established in 2003 and is a predominantly philanthropic and volunteer driven organisation.
Our core work revolves around the alleviation of poverty through the relief of hunger, improvement of living conditions, advancement of education, financial assistance and so forth.
One of our key programmes, the Home Improvement Project, started in December 2011, aims to improve the lives of needy children by upgrading their homes with fresh coats of paint, fixing broken furniture, providing solutions and a gift of necessary household needs.
Thye Hua Kwan Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar
THK Family Service Centre @ Tanjong Pagar was set up in February 1991. Our centre has a committed team of professionals that aims to promote and strengthen the social well being of the family. The professional team comprises social worker, counsellors, clinical psychologists and an art therapist.
Our centre serves as a neighbourhood based focal point where individuals and families can turn to for help in areas including financial, parenting, marital, family, elderly and family violence.
Diana (not her real name), 14, lives with two families of 15 people, including her aged grandmother, five siblings and five cousins, in a two-room rented flat. Her mother, Jennifer (not her real name), works as a clerk while her aunt sells kuih and works part-time as a home cleaner to support the two families. Her father suffered a stroke in 2012 and has since been unemployed. Without a proper study area, Diana, her siblings and cousins study at the dining table, on the floor inside their home and along the common corridor outside. Diana aspires to continue studies at ITE after she completes secondary school and her ambition is to be an educator.
Kevin (not his real name), 6, suffers from global developmental delay and dyslexia, and is suspected of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and duchine muscular dystrophy. He was enrolled in a childcare centre for the past three years but had to leave in July this year due to his condition. Without a proper study area, Kevin studies at the dining table. His mother, who was the sole breadwinner of the household, had to leave her job to take care of her two young children. They live in a two-room rented flat and has not had any income since July.