More companies have been encouraging employees to participate in volunteer programs during their off days, but last May 24, cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines’ almost 1,700 employees got to do this on company time.
To celebrate the Holcim Group’s 100th birthday, Holcim Philippines deployed its workforce on a work day to go to its communities in La Union, Bulacan, Taguig, Misamis Oriental, and Davao to participate in various community service activities.
Holcim Philippines employees went to public schools near their facilities to clean and paint classrooms and tend gardens to help prepare these for opening of classes. Employees also held story telling sessions and road safety demonstrations for children there. The company also brought along dentists, doctors and barbers, who provided free service to the children
These form part of the Holcim Group’s Together for Communities initiative, which seeks to mobilize this year its 80,000 people in over 70 countries to render public service in various communities.
“These activities are Holcim’s way to give back to its communities which give our company the license to operate,” said Holcim Philippines COO Roland van Wijnen. “Moreover, activities as these deeply drive a sense of sharing among our employees.”
Van Wijnen said that aside from the Community Service Day, the company has lined up other activities throughout the year that would allow employees spend their time volunteering in communities instead of reporting for duty at the office.
The La Union Plant will lead a coastal clean-up, medical mission, and a book drive. Its Bulacan Plant had already deployed people to participate in the clean-up Bocaue River and the Pinagrealan Cave and has invited them to join a blood letting drive, visit a youth correctional and serve as teachers for a day. In Misamis Oriental, the plant will hold a highway clean-up and a beautification of a Gawad Kalinga village in the province. Davao employees, meanwhile, have a chance to join a tree and mangrove planting activity or spend time with the elderly.
Another Centennial celebration activity is the roll out of its Project Fostering a Child’s Education (FACE) in all its sites, a program wherein employees volunteer to shoulder some of the schooling expenses of underprivileged but deserving students and regularly interact with them to provide guidance. Holcim Philippines tested the program in its Bulacan Plant for 24 student beneficiaries. It was inspired by a similar initiative by its former COO Ian Thackwray who personally supports the education of 160 students until they finish high school.
All these activities are in line with Holcim Philippines’s Sagot Ko ang Bukas online campaign (http://sagotko.holcim.ph) which seeks to encourage its employees and partners to pledge on how they can contribute to a better future. The Sagot Ko ang Bukas campaign is Holcim Philippines’ effort to make people better understand the concept of sustainability and bring it down to a personal level.