Ascott, Capitaland Hope Foundation And Icare Thailand Foundation Create A Brighter Future For Children In Chiang Rai
CapitaLand Limited’s wholly owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), and the Group’s philanthropic arm, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), organised the first CapitaLand International Volunteer Expedition to Chiang Rai province. The expedition reached out to over 500 students of Doi Wiangpha Pittaya School through the iCare Thailand Foundation.
Close to 50 volunteers from CapitaLand, including staff from Ascott, helped to improve the rural school’s facilities to create a better study environment and brighter future for the students. The volunteers comprised senior management and staff from Thailand as well as various countries such as China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Doi Wiangpha Pittaya School is a Thai government school located within the Golden Triangle area of Northern Thailand, a 10-hour drive from central Bangkok. The school provides education to over 500 children from kindergarten up to 9th Grade, with 50 children living on the school premises.
Aside from painting the school’s exterior and refurbishing the playground, amongst other tasks, to upgrade the school, the volunteers conducted a specially designed lesson, named the “CapitaLand Little Architect Programme”, to enable the children to learn building construction concepts in a simple, yet fun way. The volunteers also brought cheer and bonded with the children through a wide array of interactive activities such as team sports as well as arts and craft.
To mark the start of a new school semester in meaningful way, all students received a surprise gift of CapitaLand schoolbags, stationery and school shoes. This is part of the “My Schoolbag” programme supported by CHF that has been benefiting underprivileged children since 2009.
Mr Tan Seng Chai, Group Chief Corporate Officer, CapitaLand Limited and Executive Director, CapitaLand Hope Foundation, said: “CapitaLand is committed to support underprivileged children through CHF and the various community development efforts in countries where we operate. To date, CHF has donated about S$23 million (THB598 million) and we remain committed to continue with our efforts in Thailand.”
Mr Tan added: “To mark CHF’s 10th anniversary this year, the foundation has pledged at least S$1 million (THB 25.4 million) to charity, to celebrate volunteerism. We target to garner 100,000 volunteer hours through our #100KHopeHours global volunteer challenge whereby every volunteer hour clocked will raise a S$10 donation to support programmes for the education, healthcare and shelter needs of underprivileged children in Asia, including Thailand. We hope that our contributions and the great support from the volunteers will help to improve the lives and future of the less fortunate children.”
Mr Tony Soh, Ascott’s Chief Corporate Officer, said: “We have built a strong presence in Thailand since the opening of our first property in Bangkok over 15 years ago. Ascott has become the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in Thailand with over 1,800 apartments in 10 properties, and we plan to open two more serviced residences in Bangkok and Sri Racha by 2018. As we expand our network of properties, we are also committed to give back to the local communities in a sustainable way. This is in line with Ascott’s parent company – CapitaLand’s credo of ‘Building People. Building Communities.’ It was very fulfilling for me to join the other volunteers to help to upgrade the school and reach out to the students. Ascott will continue to do our part to make a meaningful difference to the lives of the less privileged children across the world.”
Mr Songkran Prommit, Principal and Director of Doi Wiangpha Pittaya School, said: “I would like to thank you and express my deep appreciation for the enormous support offered by CapitaLand Hope Foundation, Ascott and iCare Thailand. Because of your efforts, the children in the highland areas will have an opportunity for education, same as those in the lowlands. The goods donated, the playground equipment which is a favourite of the kindergarten, as well as your time and effort, goes such a long way in showing you care for the children of Doi Wiangpha Pittaya School. You will never be forgotten.”
This is the second time Ascott has worked through iCare Thailand Foundation to support students of Doi Wiangpha Pittaya School. In 2014, volunteers from Ascott and iCare Thailand Foundation visited the school and donated new bunk beds, sheets, mattresses as well as individual storage boxes for the needy students to store their clothing sponsored by CHF. The aim was to improve the school’s accommodation conditions for the hill tribe children who live in remote villages as they would otherwise be unable to attend school and attain a better education.
In 2008, CapitaLand volunteers from Singapore, China, India, Malaysia and Thailand built a dormitory sponsored by CHF for Baan Sawa School in Bo Kleau, Northern Thailand. With the school dormitory, the children no longer need to walk an average of 8 km per way between their home and the school. In addition, CHF also sponsored 135 needy children in Bo Kleau through World Vision.
Through #100KHopeHours, CHF seeks to rally the public to volunteer their time, skills and effort for charity, highlighting the message that everyone can contribute in different ways to benefit the community. Volunteers simply have to log on to www.capitalandhopefoundation.com/100khopehours to clock their volunteer hours to raise funds for underprivileged children.
Visit www.facebook.com/capitalandhopefoundation for photographs from the expedition.