With Flemingo Group’s simple yet powerful strategy “Small is BIG”, Global Director and Board Member, Paul Topping, announced today both the formation of “The Flemingo Foundation”, the CSR arm of Flemingo Group, with its slogan “WE CARE”, and the official launch of its first CSR initiative, “Educate to Protect”. Directed at school children in Sri Lanka, the program raises awareness amongst children against silent abuse in the hope to effectively reduce the continued rise in child abuse crimes and the alarming child suicide rates on the island.
The announcement took place during Flemingo’s annual participation at the annual TWFA 2013 Cannes Conference when holding its a “Passion Night” on the 22nd of October, onboard the “Camera C”, hospitality yacht docked at Cannes’ Marina, where Flemingo’s management and team, along with guests, gathered to celebrate another successful year of Flemingo passion and CSR activities.
The embedding of the CSR strategies into the corporate governance, and the establishment of the “Flemingo Foundation” took place this year, after more than a decade of notable accumulation of collective varied CSR initiatives either personally undertaken by Flemingo’s CEO and Partner, Mr. Atul Ahuja, or by the shareholders or by the various Regional CEOs spread around the globe. Accordingly, the formation of “The Flemingo Foundation” came as a natural step to ensure a structured socially responsible behaviour, reflecting the vision and mission of Flemingo, especially in relation to labour practices, environment, human rights, and local community service.
A CSR Committee has been formed, overseen by CEO Atul Ahuja himself, and chaired by the long experienced Paul Topping, who also highlighted, that the issue of CSR and socio-economical sustainability terminology and the contribution methodology, in countries where Flemingo has operations in, remain key to Flemingo’s focus on developing a sustainable future in spite of the global economic downturn.
Flemingo’s Focus CSR Areas …
Over the past years, Flemingo has managed to have a CSR focus contributing to the following areas in:
1- Education – by nurturing human capital whether already hired by Flemingo, or from the local community Flemingo operates in.
2- Community – by protecting, supporting, and respecting human rights, equality, and fairness, especially where Flemingo’s Employees Welfare is concerned and participating in regional initiatives and fundraising events in cooperation with local NGOs and organizations, such as the Phakamain Foundation in South Africa – supporting under privileged women in rural areas to start micro-entrepreneurial businesses and helping them increase their households income and savings for greater stability to in still hope for the future. Additionally, Management and Staff volunteer work in both Sri Lanka and India by spending quality time with orphaned children, providing them with healthy meals, school and sports supplies and arranging for recreational activities with them.
3- Sports – by encouraging activities and healthy life style within the organization and the community it exists in, through the participation and the organization of sports events for the staff, such as the Annual Flemingo Cricket Match and the Flemingo Badminton Monthly Competition in Sri Lanka.
4- Environment – by actively being involved in the conservation of the environment and protection of ecosystems especially where water issues are concerned, such as scarcity and lack of irrigation and safe drinking water, and interactively being involved in financially contributing and supporting relief works related to major flooding disasters, for example the most recent ravaging floods of north India last June of this year. Internally, Flemingo adopted the green-policy in its daily running operations by launching the internal campaign appropriately called “GO Green” for its staff to avoid paper and energy wastage and encourage them to interactively plant trees at the campaign’s launch ceremony.
5- Employee Welfare – by recognizing that the most important asset in the company is its people, making every effort and care for their development and safety. Additionally the continued improvement of the organizational culture and ways of communication and interaction with the employees is also within the range of interests of Flemingo whose aim is to set an example in its industry and trade for other employers to identify with.
Topping added that Flemingo Group realizes that for the success required in tackling these CSR focus issues, it required consistent application, expertise, and dedicating the appropriate people to do so. Therefore, and for an effective jumpstart of Flemingo Foundation’s activities, sprung the idea of partnering with regional and international NGOs specializing in focus CSR programs that require Flemingo’s financial and in-kind support, thus effectively expediting work needed and enhancing results to be achieved.
“Educate to Protect” Program …
With the modest, but impactful, Flemingo funding, 10,000 Sri Lankan School Children are being educated and supported to defend themselves to finally be able to say; “NO MORE SILENT ABUSE!”, thus building renewed faith in a safer and brighter future. Already, and since the program launch in September 2013, this program has been perceived by the local community, as well as the media and press, to be a strong action against child silent abuse amongst children of ages 8-17 who have their mothers (about 1.5 million of them) working in overseas areas, such as the M.E., the Gulf of Arabia, and Cyprus, leaving them behind in the custody and care of other family members. “Educate to Protect”; is an educational and awareness program conducted in partnership with Inner Wheel Club of Colombo West and in association with the local concerned Sri Lankan authorities, and hopes to reduce the alarming rise in Sri Lankan child abuse crimes and the child suicide rates.
What added more to the rise in these rates is the consumption of Arrack, the local alcoholic drink which sometimes is illegally produced in some areas of Sri Lanka, and known to be largely consumed by men folks, leading to parental negligence and abuse (physical, mental, and even sexual). To top it all, hard earned wages and funds by the working mothers abroad to be spent on their children’s education and wellbeing, are squandered by these relatives on anything but the education and welfare of these children, and most of the time on the aforesaid consumption and illegal production of Arrack by those supposedly “trusted” folks.
“Educate to Protect” is conducted in association with the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka, The Sri Lankan Police Department, and The National Protection Authority. Flemingo’s “Educate to Protect” came as a breath of fresh air to these children by educating them on how to identify forms of abusive behaviour conducted against them and recognize it as a grave violation of their human rights as children, and a threat to their safe and healthy existence. ATOLL FREEEMERGENCYCALL NUMBER, “1929”is provided to the school children to directly connect them with the Sir Lankan Police Department for immediate reaction of child assistance who is under the risk or threat of abuse and to also promptly alert The National Child Protection Authority of the incident to take the necessary corrective measures for the child’s rescue and future safety.
The Program school sessions started mid September, with a large attention by the local and official media and press, especially knowing that at this early stage, the program has succeeded in reaching out to approximately 1,200 students in first three sessions only, and were well received by both children and parents. 22 more sessions are scheduled to continue until the end December 2014with a target out reach of 10,000 children, if not more, and coverage totalling 25 schools.
Statistics on Child Abuse Crimes and Child Suicide Rates in Sri Lanka … Aware of the grave reported numbers of crimes committed against 8-17 year old children in Sri Lanka during the year 2011, amounting to 3,258 crimes, and the reported the 1,874 offences, including child sexual abuse, and the 32 reported cases of child suicide, Flemingo’s Management recognized the urgency of a humanitarian intervention and now are very proud and excited to have started this wonderful program to assist the local community to help educate and protect their children from this grave calamity, and thus reduce those grim incidents turning the lives of those children into a safe and more sustainable one by assuring them of their rights and a brighter future to come.
SR Future with Flemingo Foundation …
Besides from Flemingo’s regional involvement in diversified CSR initiatives, Flemingo remains adamant to continue its CSR mission globally with some international NGOs on potential projects that are currently under review, such as “The Energy Plantation Project” in Africa, and cooperating with SOS Children Villages in both Kenya and India on child education and youth vocational training programs. In the long run, the company aspires to work on the establishment of the “Flemingo Scholarship Program” in countries where Flemingo operates in, for the benefit of both the local community as well as its workforce.
Strongly moving forward with its “Small is BIG!” strategy, not only in its CSR initiatives and programs, but on all the levels of its operations, Flemingo continues to gain a strong foothold in the employment market as a stable and good employer with a progressively developing organizational culture of commitment and focus on results, and increased productivity in addition to global expansion, it also reinstates its image as a reliable business partner, a responsible eco-friendly corporation, and an active participant in community life.