Honda Announces Third Batch of Honda Dreams Fund Scholars.
Petaling Jaya, 29 June 2009 - A dream may now be a reality as Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced the third batch of 20 scholars who have succeeded in clinching the Honda Dreams Fund (HDF) scholarship. After a challenging journey of holding steadfastly onto their dreams, the 20 scholars will now take the first step in making their dreams come true.
The scholarship which is in its third year since its official launch in April 2007 opened for applications in January 2009 and received a total of 1715 applications. Throughout the month of March, Honda associates together with representatives from UNDP travelled to schools in Klang Valley and the interiors of Kedah, Pahang and Sarawak with the goal of reaching out to truly deserving youths around Malaysia. Today, the final 20 was selected to receive the scholarship out of 67 shortlisted candidates.
Commenting on the Honda Dreams Fund, Mr. Toru Takahashi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia said, "HDF is Honda Malaysia's initiative which focuses specifically at underprivileged youths, covering their tertiary education fees and providing allowances to meet living expenses for the duration of their courses. I am indeed very pleased that Honda Malaysia is staying true to the values and principles of the company in contributing back to the society wherever it operates. Projects like HDF are very much in line with Honda's commitment towards becoming a company that society wants to exist."
These 20 scholars will join the 40 successful scholars from the past 2 years in pursuing their dreams. "Honda was built on the dreams of our founder, Mr. Soichiro Honda and today, much of our accomplishments stems from the Power of Dreams. We hope that these messages will inspire and motivate young Malaysians to believe in their own dreams and to have the Challenging Spirit to achieve it".
Ong Ee Chau, a 24 year old from Penang dreams to be a Doctor. "The Honda Dreams Fund is the opportunity I have been waiting for to realize my dreams in becoming a Doctor. My dream was birthed from taking care of my bed-ridden grandmother's daily needs as a 13-year old boy. After losing my father last year to heart attack, my mother became the sole breadwinner and worked as a driving instructor to support the family. With the Honda Dreams Fund, I can now have the chance to fulfil my dream to be a Doctor and make my beloved father proud in heaven."
Her dream to be an English Lecturer can now be fulfilled as 19 years old Liaw Yin Jin is one of the successful candidates of the Honda Dreams Fund. Her mother nurtured her love for the English language when she bought her three classic novels from a second-hand book fair when she was in Primary 3. "Although my mom does not earn much, she will encourage me by buying me books for me to read. I am consistently the top scorer in all my English examinations and was actively involved in public speaking, debates and spelling bee competitions."
This year, the HDF scholars again has many different and unique dreams which includes a speech therapist, football coach, child psychologist, animation designer, architect, fashion designer and so on. Coming from all around Malaysia, these 20 youths are ready to make a difference in their lives and those around them.
Honda Malaysia partners UNDP in managing the process to ensure unbiased award and disbursements of the fund. In evaluating and selecting the candidates, Honda Malaysia and UNDP worked with an independent advisory panel comprising members from various organisations, which are the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), All Women's Action Society (AWAM) and Malaysian Youth Council (MYC).
"UNDP remains committed to supporting efforts to assist marginalized and disadvantaged communities, consistent with the Millennium Development Goal No. 1, 'Poverty Eradication'. Education can help break the cycle of poverty, and the Honda Dreams Fund aims to transform the lives of deserving students who live close to or below the poverty line," said Kamal Malhotra, UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.
Malhotra added that through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives such as the HDF under Honda Malaysia, the Malaysian private sector could be a positive agent for change, helping to create new opportunities and inclusive markets.
"The HDF is in line with the global development trend for the private sector to play a bigger role in addressing national development challenges, particularly in light of the current global financial and economic crisis."
The selection process for the final 20 scholars went through different stages, starting from a call to submit essays about their dreams. From there, 67 candidates were shortlisted and rewarded with a 3-day motivational workshop entitled "Dare to Dream". Evaluation during the workshop and an interview process determined the final 20.
Honda's commitment to the society where it is in covers many areas of philanthropic activities. In its commitment towards corporate social responsibility efforts, Honda Malaysia is also sponsoring the "Save Our Sumatran Rhino" project since 2006, an environmental conservation effort focusing on a rhino species found mainly in Malaysia. This project was launched in January 2006 in partnership with WWF-Malaysia.
Through both the "Rhino Rescue Project" and the "Honda Dreams Fund", Honda Malaysia is committed to give back to Malaysia and Malaysians and become a company that society wants to exist. For more information on the Honda Dreams Fund, please visit the website at www.honda.com.my/hdf.