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Volunteers make a difference
Susie Lunt
update on Saturday, October 9, 2010
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Whatever the demands of doing business, more organisations are making time to give back to their communities. One multinational has done just that in Asia.  

DHL's annual Volunteer Day was launched in Asia in 2008. Following the first year's success, the event was expanded into Africa, Europe and Latin America last year, with participation from 15,000 employees across more than 40 countries. While programmes are tailor-made for each country or area, all are chosen in line with DHL's corporate social responsibility (CSR) themes: "Go Help", "Go Green" and "Go Teach".

"We're especially proud of the Hong Kong teams' efforts," says Ken Lee, managing director of DHL Express Hong Kong. "These have been continually enhanced, with the aim of doing more good in the community through outreach and awareness programmes and by supporting charitable causes."

DHL initiated Volunteer Day as part of a drive to be a force for positive change. It felt that the best way to give back to the communities would be by spreading the message of volunteerism.

"We are doing this by utilising what we believe is our greatest resource - our people," Lee says. "We encourage our employees to participate in community efforts and help spread the spirit of volunteerism."

This year's programme stretched across 10 days last month in order to create more opportunities for employees, customers and business partners.

"We aim to support and collaborate with all our colleagues as a single unit and to contribute to worthy community initiatives that are aligned with the focus areas of DHL's corporate and social responsibility programmes," Lee says.

Initiatives in Hong Kong were designed to be educational and interesting, with the aim of resonating from person to person and providing a good foundation of volunteerism that people could carry on throughout their lives.

Activities were a mixture of previously popular programmes and new initiatives to benefit the community, ranging from blood and goods donation drives to a marine ecology tour and "Chopsticks Week". 

Mandy Au-yeung, a marketing communications specialist, was among 4,000 DHL employees taking part. She joined all the initiatives in her third year of participation. She says the programme has given her a chance to make a difference in the community.

"It also gives an educational break in my hectic work routine where I can acquire different skills, from communications to problem solving, in different environments," she says.

Another major plus has been the chance to meet people from different departments and to expand her understanding of the organisation.

"After joining the programmes, I have a greater understanding of the local community and feel good about having participated as a mentor," she says.


How they help  

  • Chopsticks Week focuses on the need to reduce waste disposal by distributing foldable chopsticks to 4,000 employees
  • A workshop on a glass-bottomed boat at Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park helps educate underprivileged children on conservation
  • The blood donation drive encourages staff to give blood to Hong Kong Red Cross at stations in DHL offices
  • The goods donation drive sees employees, customers and business partners give used clothing and household items to Christian Action

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