CapitaLand donates S$600,000 through My Schoolbag to benefit over 18,500 underprivileged children in five countries
Annual programme has helped more than 106,000 children since 2009
Singapore, 20 November 2015 – CapitaLand Mall Asia, CapitaLand’s wholly owned shopping mall business unit, is helping more than 18,500 underprivileged children this year with about S$600,000 worth of donations under its key annual corporate social responsibility programme “My Schoolbag”. Under this programme, schoolbags containing school and daily necessities are given to underprivileged children in the five countries where its malls operate, namely Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan and India. The donation is made possible with funding from CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), the philanthropic arm of CapitaLand.
In Singapore, CapitaLand is collaborating with the People’s Association and five Community Development Councils (CDCs) for the fifth consecutive year to benefit 1,000 children from low-income families. The children beneficiaries are each given a schoolbag as well as CapitaVouchers worth a total of S$150, which they can use to purchase school and daily necessities at a CapitaLand mall located in or near their CDC districts – namely Bedok Mall for South East, JCube for South West, Junction 8 for Central Singapore, Lot One Shoppers’ Mall for North West and The Star Vista for North East. The objective of bringing the children on a shopping trip to CapitaLand malls is to improve their understanding of the value of money and the importance of budgeting, as well as to reinforce the roles that CapitaLand malls play as centres of their communities.
To inspire these young minds to start thinking and work towards their career goals, CapitaLand invited professionals from different fields to give career talks. These include a documentary photographer, a commercial pilot, a veterinarian, a general practitioner and a trained architect. Through sharing their education journeys and career paths, it is hoped that these role models from diverse fields will motivate the children to set their ambitions and work towards achieving them.
Including the speakers who are giving career talks, more than 500 staff and community volunteers are taking part in My Schoolbag in Singapore this year to bring cheer and inspiration to the children beneficiaries. During the stage games segment, the staff and community volunteers lead the children in learning about different uniformed careers such as the police, army and nursing, and even play dress-up in these uniforms.
Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District, said: “This is the fifth consecutive year that CapitaLand, through CapitaLand Hope Foundation, is working with the People’s Association and five CDCs on My Schoolbag, which aims to give underprivileged children a head start in their learning journey and quest for a better life. Beyond giving schoolbags and other school and daily necessities to the children, the programme takes the children on an educational shopping trip to CapitaLand malls where they learn about prudent budgeting and careful spending. This year’s programme has also introduced a new segment on career aspirations, which aims to motivate the children to set and work towards realising their ambitions through engaging and fun-filled activities. The career talks given by the adult speakers from different professions go to show that that there are many opportunities for everyone to succeed and lead an enriching life in Singapore, regardless of your starting point. We would like to thank CapitaLand and its staff volunteers for their sustained efforts in fostering a caring and inclusive community, as well as inspiring our future generation to excel and achieve.”
District representatives from the different CDCs are also taking to the stage to encourage the children to pursue their dreams. These include Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Mayor of South East District; Ms Denise Phua Lay Peng, Mayor of Central Singapore District; and Mr David Ong, Vice-Chairman of South West CDC. During their visits to the CapitaLand malls, the children are also treated to lunch and entertainment, including playing games which promote the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle).
Engaging the community to help the community
This year’s My Schoolbag programme also incorporated a public fundraising component as a way of engaging the community to give back to society. For the first time, Singapore members of CAPITASTAR – the multi-mall, multi-store rewards programme with CapitaLand malls – were encouraged to donate their unredeemed membership points before this year’s expiry deadline to CHF, which then channelled the shoppers’ donations to My Schoolbag in Singapore. In total, more than S$3,000 was collected.
Over in China, CapitaLand Hope Foundation China (CHFC) – the subsidiary of CHF that coordinates the Foundation's programmes in China – partnered with China's largest and most used Internet service portal Tencent, to canvass for public donations for My Schoolbag. Under this collaboration, CHFC matched every RMB1 donated by the public through Tencent’s online and social media platforms with RMB99 to sponsor a schoolbag package worth RMB100 (about S$22) for one child. A second round of public fundraising saw CHFC matching dollar-for-dollar any amount donated by the public.
In all, more than 1,100 members of the public in China responded to the two fundraising calls. Including the matching donations, CHFC pledged more than RMB1.59 million (about S$351,000) in donations to My Schoolbag, which went to purchasing schoolbags and stationery for about 16,000 first grade pupils from about 200 schools across China, including 23 CapitaLand Hope Schools. Over 200 staff and community volunteers helped to deliver the donated schoolbags to the beneficiaries across China in the first week of September, in conjunction with the start of the academic year for Chinese pupils.
My Schoolbag is also taking place in Malaysia, Japan and India this month and next, reaching out to more than 1,500 children in these countries. 3 Mr Jason Leow, CEO of CapitaLand Mall Asia, said, “As Asia’s leading shopping mall developer, owner and manager, our network of more than 100 malls goes beyond meeting shopping and lifestyle aspirations and needs, to enriching the lives of the people and communities where they operate. It is our hope that the schoolbags as well as the school and daily necessities will provide the underprivileged children with a head start as they embark on their learning journeys. We are thus delighted to carry out My Schoolbag year after year to do our part to support the growth and development of underprivileged children in our communities. My Schoolbag has benefitted more than 106,000 children in Asia since we started this programme in 2009. We thank our staff and community volunteers for their tireless commitment, and will continue to work with our community partners, retailers, shoppers and members of the public to bring warmth and hope to underprivileged children.”
Mr Tan Seng Chai, Group Chief Corporate Officer of CapitaLand Limited and Executive Director of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, said, “This year marks the 10th anniversary of CapitaLand Hope Foundation and we are heartened to see My Schoolbag growing in scale and scope with our support over the last seven years. Started in 2009, My Schoolbag has evolved from a local charity event with its roots in Singapore, to an annual regional charity platform benefitting underprivileged children in all five Asian countries where CapitaLand malls operate. The programme has also transformed from a corporate social responsibility initiative by a single company into a community platform involving different parts of society. In particular, the addition of public fundraising channels since last year has helped to increase the public’s awareness of the plight of the underprivileged children in our midst, and served as a platform for the community to extend a helping hand to those in need. In line with CapitaLand’s ‘Building People. Building Communities’ credo, we will continue to explore more innovative ways to carry out our corporate social responsibility programmes and further engage the community in giving back to society.”
My Schoolbag began in Singapore in 2009 as “Back to School” with 200 children beneficiaries. Following the inaugural event’s success, the programme was rebranded as My Schoolbag in 2010 and held in Singapore and China. Since 2011, My Schoolbag has been held annually in the five countries where CapitaLand malls operate – namely Singapore, China, Malaysia, Japan and India.