Petaling Jaya, 28 June 2010 - Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia today announced the fourth batch of 20 successful Honda Dreams Fund (HDF) scholars. With the scholarship, these Malaysian youths from underprivileged backgrounds from all over the country will start on a new journey towards making their dreams a reality!
Selected out of the 1,700 applicants received since the scholarship opened for application, these youths personify the young generation who hold steadfast to their dreams despite facing financial obstacles to achieve them.
These final 20 HDF scholars will be joining the 60 scholars from year 2007 - 2009 in pursuing their dreams with the hope of a better future ahead. Commenting on the fourth batch of HDF scholars, Mr. Toru Takahashi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia said, "I am pleased that Honda Malaysia is able to provide the platform for these 20 youths to achieve their dreams. Each of them has a compelling story to tell, and a determination in their hearts to achieve their dreams despite their backgrounds. We are pleased to support them in their quest towards achieving their dreams."
"Honda was built on the dreams of our founder, Mr. Soichiro Honda, who determinedly believed in the 'Power of Dreams'. In staying true to the Honda philosophy, HDF is Honda Malaysia's initiative to contribute back to the society and to ensure underprivileged youths in Malaysia receive the same opportunity as others to realise their dreams. Through Honda Dreams Fund, we hope to impart and empower these young people with Honda's Power of Dreams and the Challenging Spirit, to provide them with the means towards a better tomorrow for themselves and their families. At the same time, we also hope to contribute to the human capital development in Malaysia," added Mr. Takahashi.
HDF was first launched in January 2007 and is aimed at providing full and non-binding scholarships for underprivileged but determined students who do not have the means or the funds to achieve their dreams and aspirations. To date, five HDF scholars from the inaugural 2007 batch have graduated and are now living out their dreams while helping to ease their family's financial burdens.
Just like the years before, the HDF scholars this year too have many different and unique dreams such as chiropractor, chemist, hair stylist, fashion designer and even an entrepreneur.
"UNDP remains committed to supporting efforts to assist marginalized and disadvantaged communities, consistent with Millennium Development Goal 1, 'Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger'. 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 Mr. 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 a more inclusive society.
"The HDF is consistent with the UN Global Compact which encourages the private sector to play a bigger role in addressing national development challenges. This is especially necessary in the context of the recent global financial and economic crisis."
Emphasising their combined commitment to the scholarship, the team from Honda Malaysia and UNDP took to the roads to reach out to truly deserving underprivileged youths by having talks and holding application sessions in Kelantan, Terengganu, Perak and Sabah in January and February.
Honda Malaysia also 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 works with an independent advisory panel comprising members from various organisations, which are the All Women's Action Society (AWAM) and Malaysian Youth Council (MYC).
The selection process for the final 20 scholars went through a few stages, starting from a call to submit essays about their dreams. From there, 60 candidates were shortlisted to undergo a 4-day motivational workshop entitled "Dare to Dream". This year, the workshop had a different twist. The candidates were put in a "camp environment", and went through a line-up of challenging indoor and outdoor activities designed to bring out their leadership, teamwork and approach. Evaluations during the workshop and an interview process determined the final 20.
Honda's commitment to the society where it operates covers many areas of philanthropic activities. In its commitment towards corporate social responsibility efforts, Honda Malaysia initiated the "Save Our Sumatran Rhino" project in 2006 in partnership with WWF-Malaysia. It undertakes to sponsor this environmental conservation effort focusing on a rhino species found mainly in Malaysia for 5 years.
Through both the "Rhino Rescue Project" and the "Honda Dreams Fund", Honda Malaysia is committed to giving 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.