QI Staff Raise Funds Through Employee Initiatives for Taarana
Volunteering has been inbuilt into the QI Group’s culture from its early years. Employees have always been encouraged to get involved in their local communities with worthy causes and RYTHM Foundation has always appreciated the help employees of the QI Group have provided by donating their time and effort to vulnerable segments of society.
Over time, even those who had never volunteered before have come to see the experience as rewarding and fulfilling. While the QI Group requires every employee to allocate 16 hours in a calendar year towards volunteering, many employees have gone above and beyond the requisite number of hours as they have seen the positive impact they can make with just their time and physical presence.
QI Group’s employees in Malaysia came together to form the Staff Social Responsibility (SSR) Committee which helps facilitate volunteering activities with the Foundation’s support for employees to participate in. Some of the activities in 2020 included a Braillethon, where employees volunteered to translate books and documents from printed text to Braille, three separate blood donation drives to address the urgent need for blood in light of Covid, food distribution to vulnerable communities impacted by the pandemic, and sanitary pad collection drive for poor women, among others.
Despite the challenges posed by the lockdown in Malaysia as a response to Covid-19, the SSR committee managed to find a way to help the needy, while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines.
One of the employee driven initiatives the SSR committee in Malaysia has been organising for the last few years is a fundraiser for the Taarana school for special needs children in Malaysia, a flagship project established by the Foundation.
Taarana school addresses an important need in the local community to help children aged 4 to 18 who are mostly on the autism spectrum with tailored education programmes. The school is funded entirely by the RYTHM Foundation and fees are also subsidized for children from families that cannot afford special education.
This year’s Committee, headed by Kalyani Puspangathan from the Corporate Services and Administration department managed to collect a total of RM21,500 from the staff through a series of employee-driven initiatives. Given the restrictions due to COVID-19 the committee expected to not raise more than RM 1000 a month. They were surprised by the outpouring of support from the staff and this turned out to be the highest amount collected by the committee ever.
“The Committee started with selling flowers to staff in February for Valentine’s day and over the subsequent months, sold keychains and mugs for Father’s Day as well as coffee, tea, and snacks three times a week in the office. Despite the lockdown and most staff working from home for months, the support remained strong and we managed to almost double our original target,” Kalyani said.
Kalyani handed over the cheque to RYTHM Foundation Chairperson Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran in a virtual event via Zoom, witnessed by the Committee members as well as QI Group Directors Ms Pushpam Appalanaidu and Ms Boey Kho, and RYTHM Foundation Head Ms Santhi Periasamy.
Moved by the gesture, RYTHM Foundation Chairperson Datin Sri Umayal, thanked the committee members and all the employees who participated in the SSR initiatives. She pointed out that despite the odds and the challenges of the year, their efforts show that one can bring about change with love, compassion, and kindness.
Special needs education, unlike mainstream education, requires several different approaches and services. Programmes tailor learning to address each child’s unique combination of needs and adaptations are made to allow kids to meet age-appropriate educational goals. This includes smaller classes, individualised learning, one-on-one support, self-contained classrooms, resource rooms, and learning aids, which makes special education expensive compared to mainstream schools. RYTHM Foundation is committed to providing kids with quality special education without burdening the families with expensive fees.
Kudos to the QI employees for living up to the values of RYTHM.
Disclaimer: Photos include activities organised prior to COVID-19 restrictions.