Nurturing the spirit of corporate volunteering21 Jan 2013
“I was deeply touched by the warmth and hospitality of the villagers. When I saw all the volunteers start dancing to the chicken dance with the children, I started dancing as well. I have never danced before in my life.”
This was what Senthil Kathiresan, a technical officer in Keppel Shipyard, felt when he participated in our Words on Wheels (WOW) project in Hanoi, Vietnam last November. This was Keppel Land’s second volunteering trip on this project.
Senthil is one of the 10 Singapore volunteers who participated on this trip, which marked the first overseas volunteering experience as well as the first trip to Vietnam for Senthil and the Keppel staff, also known as Keppelites.
Launched by SIF in 2011, WOW Hanoi is a mobile library project sponsored by Keppel Land, with support from its Vietnamese joint venture companies, International Centre and Quang Ba Royal Park.
Since the launch of WOW Hanoi in 2011, the mobile library has been visiting 10 rural villages in Hanoi periodically. The library, which is a specially-fitted van, has provided some 4,000 village children with a window to the world through access to books, educational toys, games, the Internet and multimedia facilities.
On this trip, Senthil and the other volunteers travelled with the mobile library to Dong Truc Elementary School in Thach That District and organised outdoor games, dances, art and craft sessions and storytelling for about 600 students of the village school.
As part of the effort, Keppelites also donated over 200 items of children’s clothing and pre-loved toys to the village and new stationery gift sets to the school for children, aged six to 12.
Tanti Juressa Ong, Assistant Manager at Keppel Sea Scan, is grateful for this opportunity to experience the way of life in a village and “seeing the children embrace simple joys puts life in perspective” for her.
Also on this trip were representatives from Keppel Land’s senior management, namely, Albert Foo, General Manager for Marketing, and Serena Toh, Deputy General Manager for Investor Relations.
Albert felt that this trip was a great experience for everyone and that “it was heartening to see all the volunteers from different business units come together for a good cause.”
Dinh Thi Bao Minh, who is based in Keppel Land Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, flew to Hanoi especially for the trip. Minh is touched that her Singapore colleagues made an effort to travel to her hometown in Hanoi to lend a helping hand.
She said: “Not only did we make a difference in brightening the lives of the village children, this trip was also good opportunity for me to bond with fellow Keppelites from Singapore and Vietnam.”
For more information on Keppel Land and its engagement in CSR outreach, please visit:
The Words on Wheels direct service project in Hanoi, Vietnam is sponsored by Keppel Land and jointly organised by Hanoi Public Library and SIF.
Siem Reap, CambodiaWater for Life Project (Siem Reap, Cambodia)