Petaling Jaya, 23 June 2008 - Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia today announced the second batch of 20 successful Honda Dreams Fund scholars who will be on their way to realising their dreams.
21 year old Lee Kum Yeen is an orphan who lives in Perak.
HDF Group 2008
Despite having lost her mother at 3 years old and then her father last year, Kum Yeen chooses to remain optimistic and positive. Being a people person, her dream is to be a hotel manager. "I am truly ecstatic to be selected. Since I was young I have always aspired to be a hotel manager. My fascination for this industry started after I watched travelling programmes on television. I want to meet people from different cultures. I enjoy doing the little things that will put a smile on people's faces."
Dillon Sarim, a 17 year old Kadazan Dusun from Sabah dreams of becoming an environmentalist. "I have a big family with 10 siblings and we are supported only by our mother who works as a Pekerja Rendah Awam at Jabatan Tanah dan Ukur. My dream to become an environmentalist and to help save the earth started in 1999 when there was a terrible haze in Sabah. My mother fell sick for one week as she did not wear a mask to protect herself. She had used all her money to buy masks for me and my siblings and to pay for our school fees."
The Honda Dreams Fund is Honda Malaysia's initiative which focuses specifically at less fortunate youths, covering their tertiary education fees and providing allowances to meet living expenses for the duration of their courses. Successful candidates will have the freedom to choose their courses of study at any local institutions of their choice.
Commenting on the second batch of HDF scholars, Mr. Atsushi Fujimoto, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia said, "The HDF roadshows which we conducted in February and March 2008 reaching out to the indigenous groups of Sarawak, Sabah, Pahang and Perak were very helpful in reaching out to those who are truly deserving. We are indeed pleased to note that 12 of this year's candidates are from the indigenous groups of Malaysia. The Power of Dreams is not just a slogan. In Honda, that phrase captures the essence that makes Honda unique. This is because dreams inspire us. And realizing dreams fuels our determination as we embrace challenges to bring joy to our customers and society where we exist."
"This is the vision passed on to us from our founder, Mr Soichiro Honda. Much of Honda's achievements today stems from simple dreams that materialized into real life accomplishments. This is also the vision behind the Honda Dreams Fund - giving underprivileged young Malaysians who dare to dream, a chance to fulfill their dreams and achieve a better future through education. At the same time, Honda hopes to be able to contribute to the human capital development in Malaysia. The uniqueness of the Honda Dreams Fund is that it offers non-binding scholarships as Honda Malaysia believes that the recipients should be allowed to mould their future after they have graduated," added Mr. Fujimoto.
These 20 scholars will be joining the inaugural batch from last year in pursuing their dreams and improving their future. Mr. Fujimoto expressed his hope that the story behind Honda's "Power of Dreams" and the life of Mr. Soichiro Honda will inspire and motivate young Malaysians to believe in their own dreams and to have the Challenging Spirit to achieve their dreams.
To ensure unbiased award and disbursements of the fund, Honda Malaysia partners with UNDP in managing the process. In evaluating and selecting the candidates, UNDP worked with an independent advisory panel comprising members from various NGOs. The NGOs in the advisory panel are Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), All Women's Action Society (AWAM) and Malaysian Youth Council (MYC).
The selection process for the final 20 scholars went through different stages, starting from a call to submit essays about their dreams. From there, 66 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.
UNDP Malaysia Officer-in-Charge, Puan Daratul Baida Osman Khairuddin said in her speech at the recent HDF Workshop, "UNDP is honored to continue to be part of the Honda Dreams Fund, especially in working together with Honda Malaysia to help the less fortunate students in Malaysia through our shared vision and common aim of making a real difference to the lives of underprivileged youths. UNDP is extremely encouraged by the exemplary commitment of Honda Malaysia to support this initiative - supporting underprivileged youths to fulfill their career objectives and subsequently their 'dreams' of a better life."
She further added that, "This project is about providing access to underprivileged youths to further their education and improving their 'employability'. It will contribute towards improving their own social mobility, providing many beneficial effects for individuals, as well as having important positive externalities for families, communities and society.
This project is also consistent with the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006 - 2010) which outlines as one of its strategic thrusts "Empowering youths for the future through improved access to education and training as well as the Millennium Development Goals of Eradicating Poverty."
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 exists.