SM Scholar James Wong, a fifth year BS Electronics and Communications Engineering student from Asia Pacific College, spoke on behalf of the SM Foundation and his fellow scholars. He shared his story on how CSR has given him an opportunity to secure a better life.
“The launch made me realize the meaningful endeavors of the private sector in helping the less-fortunate,” James remarked. “It’s good to know how big corporations reach out to those in need.”
He added, “As beneficiaries, such blessings should not be taken for granted. Instead, they should be our stepping stones to success for a better future.”
The eldest of four children, James had doubts of continuing his schooling. With two of his siblings going to college, James knew that it will be difficult for his parents to send all four of them to school. Because of this, James planned to enter the seminary but was persuaded by his parish priest to get a college degree first. He then decided to apply for the SM Scholarship Program.
“Being an SM Scholar gave me a chance to pursue my studies and obtain quality education,” James said. “The scholarship was really a big help to my family.”
“SM scholars are a testament of what CSR can do to help make inclusive growth a reality,” said Linda Atayde, SM Foundation Executive Director of Education. “Through CSR, we not only help change lives, we are also helping our country move onwards into a better position economically and competitively.”
The LCF is a network of corporations and their foundations committed to sharing and enhancing its strategic practices in CSR. This year, the Expo’s theme ‘Commit. Strengthen. Rebuild.’ focuses on encouraging its members, as well as the entire business community, to strengthen its commitment and contribution to their respective CSR projects and programs. It is also a platform to promote new advocacy ideas and practices in Arts and Culture, Environment, Enterprise Development, Health and Education.
As one of the oldest members of LCF, the SM Foundation has been continuously supporting the growth of CSR in the country through its advocacies – education, health, livelihood and religious affairs. Its flagship program, the SM College Scholarship, has currently 1,365 scholars enrolled in 82 partner schools nationwide and has produced over 1,900 graduates to date. For school year 2014-2015, the Foundation welcomed 350 new scholars including 100 scholars from the Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) affected-areas in the Visayas.
Aside from its usual projects, the SM Foundation also actively supports the rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-stricken areas. Currently, the Foundation is constructing two 2-storey, 10-classroom school buildings in Hernani, Eastern Samar with eight other school buildings scheduled to be built in Cebu, Leyte, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz and Cadiz for a total of 56 classrooms. The Tacloban City Hospital is also being renovated along with 10 rural health centers in other devastated areas. The Foundation has also identified 8 locations to conduct its Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program to help uplift communities through providing better livelihood opportunities. Finally, SM Cares, a division of SM Foundation, targets to construct 1,000 disaster-resilient houses in the Visayas for those whose homes have been destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.