Archive for July, 2012

Literacy: an opportunity

Monday, 30 July, 2012

Imagine a young girl, whose teacher assigns a report. She immediately gets nervous and considers her options: get someone else to do it, accept a failing grade, leave school altogether … or admit she can’t read.

Perhaps she does what she can to get through the school years and enters the workforce to support her family. One day, her boss assigns an online questionnaire. Will she find a way around it, leave her job … or admit to a problem that still persists?

Illiteracy and low literacy regularly keep people from achieving their best – and often lead to desperate decisions.

According to UNESCO, more than 774 million young people and adults do not have the basic literacy and numeracy skills they require to participate fully in society. That’s almost one in five of the adult population.

A recent report noted that while literacy is on the rise globally, in some regions of high population growth, the absolute number of those without literacy is actually growing.

So what can we do about it?

VOLUNTEERS.

The most immediate way to help is to roll up your sleeves and work with someone who needs extra assistance. At Amway headquarters, our employees regularly exchange letters from students at schools with low literacy rates. This simple act motivates children to practice their skills and get rewarded by meeting their “pen pal” each year. Amway distributors in the United States also work directly with at-risk children whose parents have been incarcerated. And Amway distributors in Taiwan and Korea help children with their homework through afterschool programs.

TOOLS.

In some communities, access to books and reading materials is a major barrier, and an investment in providing resources can make all the difference. In Thailand, the Amway Flying Book program sends books to remote, rural areas of the country. In China, the Amway Project Sunshine program builds school libraries for children of migrant families. In India, the Amway Opportunity Foundation provides Braille books and specialized computers for visually impaired youth.

INFRASTRUCTURE.

Sometimes schools and desks are in short supply and prevent learning from taking place. In South Africa, Amway has sponsored customized Lap Desks where schools do not have enough resources and space to have a desk for every child. In Turkey, Amway has built preschools in poor, remote areas with funds raised by distributors and employees across Europe.

One of the best ways to unlock the potential of a child – or an adult – is to help them to read. In big and small ways, we can help right now, right where we are.

A time of service and celebration in India

Thursday, 26 July, 2012

From the stage to the streets, the past several weeks have been full of activity and celebration for Amway and its distributors and employees in India.

In May, we celebrated the 14th anniversary of the Amway business in India with a day of volunteer service in 63 Amway locations across the country. Activities were focused on health and education, with Amway Business Owner doctors organizing health checkups, while also dedicating time for gift giving, entertainment and laughter.

  

And June, we honored the 133rd birthday of Helen Keller by supporting projects with 16 partners across India through the National Project for the Blind. They included everything from walk-a-thons to debates to reading and singing.

 

To top things off, in July Amway India received international recognition for its work in supporting and improving the quality of education through their national projects for children and for the blind, with Asia’s Best CSR Practices Award. The awards were hosted by CMO Asia, and endorsed by Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, an autonomous body under Ministry of Corporate Affairs. 

 

A hearty thanks and congratulations to our friends and colleagues in India for their inspiring work for children, and their prestigious recognition.

Thank you to Raj Narain for sharing these stories.

Amway and employees recognized by the Governor

Tuesday, 24 July, 2012

The Amway One by One Campaign starts at home. In our local community, we engage many employee volunteers, support many causes, and lend our expertise to improve children’s lives.

Last night, Amway and our employees were recognized for these efforts by the Governor of Michigan through the Michigan Community Service Commission.

Amway received the Governor’s Service Award for Corporate Community Leadership by Governor Rick Snyder himself after being nominated by longtime playground building partner, KaBOOM!

Our employees give approximately 20,000 volunteer hours each year, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the United Way campaign alone, and serve on more than 100 nonprofit boards.

Knowing the character of our employees, they would continue to serve whether or not they receive formal recognition. Still, it was a great honor to be acknowledged by the Governor and the Michigan Community Service Commission for these efforts.

Thanks to all of our employees who are out in the community every day, investing in our future by investing themselves in the lives of children.

Creating better lives from the veranda

Friday, 20 July, 2012

No classroom.  No chairs.  No desks.  No problem.

Many underprivileged children in small villages in Indonesia do not have access to classrooms. Lack of education has kept many of them from achieving their full potential. Ibu (mother) Yanti who lives in Ciputat, Jakarta, saw the need to help children in her neighborhood.

In 2005, she transformed her large veranda into a classroom for 80 children to teach them how to read and write. She founded the Pendidikan Anak Usia Dini (PAUD) Budi Mulia, an early childhood education center, all on her own, with no financial assistance from public institutions or private charities.

The lack of a formal classroom doesn’t seem to bother the students.  They are just eager to learn.

To recognize Ibu Yanti’s contribution, a group of Amway volunteers visited her veranda on National Education Day. They spent time reading books, playing games and teaching English to the students. At the end of the day, each child received a back pack and school supplies.

Love, dedication and a small veranda may be all that is needed to ignite a passion for learning in some ambitious young children.

Thanks to Sri Soekarmoen for sharing this story.

School is in … for shoes

Wednesday, 18 July, 2012

School is out for many children, including those in the Dominican Republic.

That didn’t keep Amway Independent Business Owners and employees from gathering children together at school to distribute much needed shoes.

 

Earlier this month, an Amway team visited Batey 16 in La Romana to deliver shoes to the children who attend school there. Batey 16 is made up of very poor families who do not have the financial resources to meet some basic needs of their kids.

 

Amway Dominican Republic regularly helps families through the Amway One by One campaign, including the provision of education, toys and clothing.

The children in Batey 16 had a reason to attend school … and were now equipped to run home.

Thanks to Rut Amaro for sharing this story. See more photos on our Facebook site.

Building a love for stories

Monday, 16 July, 2012

Amway Philippines is celebrating its 15 year anniversary. And what better way to mark this occasion than by telling stories.

Yet storytelling is not just a pastime for Amway distributors and employees in the Philippines. It’s an intervention to help young students to improve their literacy skills, and to build a passion for reading.

Over the past several years, Amway Philippines has donated books and mobilized volunteers to read and tell stories. Last month, they personally delivered 150 books to the Concepcion Elementary School and Balulang Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro.

The storytellers are now part of a story themselves – a story of generosity, of hope, and of celebration.

Thank you to Suzanne Comagon for sharing this story.

A legacy of commitment to children in Singapore

Thursday, 12 July, 2012

Pop quiz: what were the first 2 Amway products?

Of course, they were L.O.C. Multi-Purpose Cleaner and SA8 Concentrated Detergent.

Building on this legacy, Amway Singapore created the Amway Enrichment fund to help children through the sale of these pioneering product brands.

For the purchase of every LOC and SA8 (750g), Amway Singapore donates $2 to the Singapore Children’s Society to support children’s centers across the country.

Through these donations, children receive programs to enhance self esteem, improve math skills, explore personal interests and translate life values into daily values.

This isn’t just a one-time donation. While the fund started in 2009, Amway Singapore has partnered with the Singapore Children’s Society since we started doing business in Singapore in 2002.

… 2 products, $2 at a time, 20 year partnership … and more ahead!

Thanks to Audrey Chow Miew Ling and Kyle Van Andel for sharing this story.

Little photographer explores big city

Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

It was the first time Ma Junxin visited famous Shanghai landmarks at the Bund and Nanjing Road, despite the fact that she has lived in this city for ten years.

Maj Junxin, an 11-year-old girl, is a child of migrant workers in Shanghai. Her parents moved from their rural hometown to make a modest living in the suburbs of Shanghai. Working hard, they seldom had time to visit the sites.

The Amway Charity Foundation is working to help children of migrant families, like Ma Junxin. On World Children’s Day in June, Amway worked with the Shanghai Youth Volunteers Association to fulfill the dreams of 20 children, who got their first chance to tour the city.

More than 20 idle cameras were collected by the public, and 26 Amway volunteers and 20 community volunteers were gathered within two weeks.

Before the tour, the volunteers organized photography classes for the children so they could capture different perspectives of Shanghai during their tour.

For most children, it was the first time to take the subway, to taste a local snack, to use a public telephone booth, to talk with foreigners … and of course, to be a photographer.

To these children, Shanghai is no longer just their second home. It is finally becoming their hometown.

Thanks to Vivian Yuan and Christy Xin for sharing this story.

Growing to Learn

Friday, 6 July, 2012

High above the skyline of Hong Kong, something is growing. In fact, lots of things are growing – including young plants, and young minds.

 

The Amway Organic Farming Program teaches organic farming to primary school students, while promoting the importance of environmental stewardship.

 

Organized by the Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre and sponsored by Amway Hong Kong, the program has made a large impact since its launch in November 2011, with more than 20 training sessions, organic farming workshops and organic farm open days.

 

In February, a kickoff ceremony involved primary students pledging to be responsible organic farmers and to protect the environment. All the while, Amway distributors pledge to be “Green Ambassadors” for the program, working hand in hand with junior farmers in hopes of building a greener world.

 

Green Ambassadors and students alike go through a series of workshops to promote the organic message and learn how to organically farm. It’s a green cycle that they hope to pass on for generations to come.

Thanks to Cynthia Chin and Kyle Van Andel for sharing this story.

A benchmark of high achievement

Thursday, 5 July, 2012

Amway China never fails to go above and beyond with their contributions to the Amway One by One Campaign.

The Amway Charity Foundation in China recently opened their 301st Nutrition Kitchen in through the Spring Sprout program, as part of a 100 million RMB ($15.4 million USD) commitment over three years to build a total of 1,000 Nutrition Kitchens across China, benefitting benefit 500,000 children.

This dedication certainly does not go unnoticed. The Amway Charity Foundation Spring Sprout program received the award for Most Influential Charity of China. Deemed as the most prestigious award of its kind in China, it was proudly accepted in Project’s first year of existence.

The Spring Sprout Project continually strives to develop solutions to nutritional issues for children left behind in rural areas when their parents move to cities to find work.

In a recent joint forum with the Hope Kitchen Project and the Micro Nutrient Supplements Project, Amway fostered a discussion about current successes and how they can be translated over into solving future issues.

We expect to see more great successes, and more children who are eating better because of the contributions of Amway China, and its many Sales Representatives, employees and partners.

Thanks to Kyle Van Andel and Vivian Yuan for sharing this story.