Race to a Vision of Tomorrow

CapitaLand rallies youths in Shanghai race for underprivileged children in need of spectacles

Issue: Jun 2012

CapitaLand employees and “Building for Tomorrow” volunteers were among the 1,800 youths from Shanghai who had gathered to race through the city to raise funds for underprivileged children in need of spectacles
CapitaLand employees and “Building for Tomorrow” volunteers were among the 1,800 youths from Shanghai who had gathered to race through the city to raise funds for underprivileged children in need of spectacles

On 5 May 2012, CapitaLand’s employees were among 1,800 youths from all walks of life in Shanghai that participated in a full-day urban hike through the city. The race was to raise funds for spectacles for more than 1,000 underprivileged children during World Sight Day on 6 June. To keep the carbon footprint low, participants walked or took public transport as they navigated the 19 different race routes, stopping at checkpoints to collect items to exchange for higher value ones from the public to raise the money needed. The mass race was the highlight of an event to mark the official commencement of this year’s Shanghai Youth Fashion Festival (上海市青年风尚节) organised by the Shanghai Communist Youth League
(上海市团委) in conjunction with its 90th anniversary celebrations.

CapitaLand Hope Foundation China (CHFC), CapitaLand’s philanthropy arm in China, was the coordinating partner (协办单位) of the event, pledging its strong support to help the underprivileged children. In addition to sending five teams of staff and "Building for Tomorrow" volunteers to race, CapitaLand China also donated corporate collaterals for race checkpoints. In addition, CapitaMalls Asia (China) supported the event by sponsoring Hongkou Plaza as one of the race checkpoints and provided a team to man this checkpoint.

Hongkou Plaza, was one of the checkpoints for the city race, where participants stopped passers-by to raise money for the children

Hongkou Plaza, was one of the checkpoints for the city race, where participants stopped passers-by to raise money for the children
Hongkou Plaza, was one of the checkpoints for the city race, where participants stopped passers-by to raise money for the children

At the Hongkou Plaza checkpoint, members of the public could donate to raise funds for spectacles for the underprivileged children and register as a volunteer with CHFC’s “Building for Tomorrow” Volunteer Organisation. The latter is focused on getting like-minded volunteers to participate in initiatives that support the shelter, education and healthcare needs of underprivileged children as well as environmental sustainability through the efforts of. CHFC also raised funds for the cause through the sale of their book “我的N次方” – a book that is dedicated to record the experiences and emotions of the 1000 volunteers and underprivileged children that participated in the Hand in Hand 20.10 at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

A Race for the Future

In an eye examination for 1,900 preschoolers from migrant families, the Shanghai Communist Youth League found that nearly one in five suffered from myopia. Due to poverty, few could afford the spectacles to correct their eye sight.

“We are very honoured to be invited to participate in this annual event. This initiative is in line with our commitment to support programmes for the shelter, education and healthcare needs of underprivileged children in the communities we operate in,” said Francis Li, Deputy General Manager, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (China).

The city race raised over RMB 200,000 through public and corporate donations. Funds were channelled to the Shanghai Charity Foundation (上海市慈善基金会) that worked with eye specialists to ensure that the underprivileged children with failing eyesight received the spectacles they needed.

Zhou Wei, a race participant who had previously volunteered in CapitaLand’s Hand in Hand 20.10 event, shared, “In 2010, I was part of the team who brought 2010 children from CapitaLand Hope Schools to visit the Shanghai Expo. Since then, I have always been on the lookout for such meaningful events to participate in.”

Another participant Wang Xian Ren, got to know about the Shanghai race through his wife, Song Xiao Ting, who is working in Ascott Huai Hai Road Shanghai. He signed up for the event as he wanted to make a difference to the lives of these underprivileged children.

Besides raising funds for the underprivileged children, the Shanghai race also required the teams to minimise carbon footprint by walking or taking public transport
Besides raising funds for the underprivileged children, the Shanghai race also required the teams to minimise carbon footprint by walking or taking public transport

A Green and Creative Race

In line with CapitaLand’s environmental and sustainability focus, the race was eco-friendly and required participants to minimize their carbon footprint. Participants, grouped into teams of six, drew lots to determine which route they would embark on for the race. Then, it was off by foot or on any form of public transport to get through the 19 different checkpoints around the city. In this way, carbon emission would be minimised as participants traveled to the different checkpoints, mostly major landmarks of Shanghai.

An Inclusive Race

But the highlight of the race was the fact that at every checkpoint, participants had to encourage the public to donate to the cause by exchanging something they had with them for a collateral from CapitaLand or a gift in the goodie bag that they each were given. It was a collaboration involving participants and members of the public in Shanghai.

“I think we brought too many gifts with us. Many of the people who donated really didn’t want the gifts in exchange for their cash. They only wanted to give to charity,” said Cai Yong Cheng, another “Building for Tomorrow” volunteer.

The race also engaged the public for a good cause as participants had to get the public to donate items or money in exchange for collaterals contributed by CapitaLand and other corporations
The race also engaged the public for a good cause as participants had to get the public to donate items or money in exchange for collaterals contributed by CapitaLand and other corporations

Others, however, had to battle skepticism and suspicion.

“Some of the people didn’t trust that their money would indeed go to the children and we had to be patient to explain the event to them and help them understand that we were working with an approved charity,” said Yin Chong, Senior Leasing Executive of CapitaMall Qibao, CapitaMalls Asia (China).

At the end of the nine-hour race, not only was money raised, friendships were also forged.

“I had lots of fun and made a lot of friends during the race. I think it is very nice that an enterprise like CapitaLand is so socially responsible and makes such an effort to help these underprivileged children.
I hope they organise more of such events. I would definitely volunteer again,” said Yu Pu, a “Building for Tomorrow” volunteer.

The gift of better vision to the children of Shanghai is not only a gift towards the needy; it is an investment for a better generation to come – a hope for building a better tomorrow.


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