Community support initiatives under H.O.P.E. have already been identified and rolled out in key markets, a few of them are listed below:
Running for a cause #DubaiMarathon
For the first time we integrated our CSR efforts by associating with an international event – The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2015. On January 23, 2015, 10 employees of Xpress Money participated in the marathon to generate funds for an NGO- SNF Centre, that provides training to Adults with Special Needs. It was an exciting day for us as all our 10 members, completed the 10 kilometer run. Once again, Xpress Money came together as a family to support a noble cause and experienced a feeling of fulfillment in contributing towards this cause.
Distribution of blankets for Syrian refugees in Jordan & Lebanon
Extending a helping hand to Syrian refugees, earlier this year, Xpress Money distributed blankets to victims of the Syrian civil war in Jordan and Lebanon. In Jordan, the blankets were distributed in the presence of Mr. Wasfi Mohammad Fayyad Al-Zyoud, Member of Parliament to refugees sheltered in a camp in El-Sokhna in the Northern Hashmi area of Jordan, which does not receive support from the UN. This is the 2nd consecutive year that Xpress Money has been donating to help the Syrian refugees in Jordan. Simultaneously in Lebanon, blankets were distributed to refugees sheltered in the Baalbek region of Beqaa valley in association with the Lebanese Organization for Studies & Training NGO.
In support of Nepal
In the wake of the recent earthquake tragedy that engulfed Nepal, Xpress Money expressed its solidarity with the victims and their families by waiving off the transfer fees for all transactions done through Xpress Money to Nepal at all major partner locations in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. This benefit was available to all customers remitting to Nepal from May 1st to May 31st, 2015.
Additionally, we also provided 300 makeshift tents to accommodate a total of 9000 people in Sindhuphalchowk, that was worst hit by the earthquake and distributed medical supplies such as first aid kits, medicines, etc. to those in need. A relief material collection drive was also organized in the UAE in association with UAE Exchange, through which employees of Xpress Money also contributed cash separately to add to the relief funds. The relief material and money collected was donated to an NGO that is directly working with the people of Nepal. These initiatives are driven through H.O.P.E, Xpress Money's global corporate social responsibility program.
The Nepal earthquake has impacted the lives of millions of people living in the country and around the world. Nothing that we do can fill the void that the human losses have created. However, we hope that our humble initiatives brought some amount of relief to those affected. We pray that the survivors gather enough strength and courage to start afresh and move on with their lives.
Wellness programs for the labour workforce
While Xpress Money is constantly innovating to provide convenient money transfer services to its customers, also embedded in our corporate ethos, is a strong sense of community welfare. We are always on the lookout for different ways to engage with our customers, across different sections of society and make a difference to their lives. Perhaps for the first time a remittance company is taking Yoga, the acknowledged Indian discipline of wellness that helps harmonize the mind and body, to migrant labourers. We chalked out a schedule of Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) – also known as the Science of Silence Yoga, for laborers at certain camps in the UAE. Xpress Money along with the SSY team have been conducting these programs on weekends and sometimes on weekdays, after the working hours of these labourers. The labour community or the blue collar workers form a major part of the migrant community in the UAE and it is very rare that such wellness initiatives like SSY are offered to them. High stress levels are common among these workers who stay away from their homes and work in different climatic conditions under tremendous pressure. There are not many relaxation programs that an average laborer is exposed to, after he winds up a long day at work. Through this SSY programme, Xpress Money hopes to help these migrants find a sense of physical, mental and spiritual harmony within themselves.
Ifthar food packet distribution during Ramadan
This Ramadan, through our CSR program H.O.P.E, we reached out with food supplies to several thousands of people livng across the Middle East. The team at Xpress Money distributed Ifthar food packets to blue collared workers at labour camps across GCC, provided monthly provisions to needy families in Jordan and in association with theholymonth.com , shared food packets with workers living in abour camps across UAE.
Tie-up with Habitat for Humanity, Kenya
The housing deficit in Kenya is around 2 million and continues to grow at a rate of about 150,000 units every year. There is an explosion of informal settlements in urban areas with 60% of the population living in slums. Families live in overcrowded homes typically with only one room and no adequate ventilation or access to water and sanitation. In addition to limited access to land, insufficient income and lack of affordable housing finance affecting low-income population are other limiting factors for low income families to improve their housing conditions. Xpress Money partnered with Habitat for Humanity International with the aim to help families in Kenya improve their living conditions and increase financial knowledge. We started with supporting Habitat's efforts in the housing microfinance and financial literacy program for seven families.
Breast Cancer Awareness campaign
To support the cause of Breast Cancer Awareness, Xpress Money organised a special awareness camp for women at a labour camp in Dubai and also for their staff in office. In association with doctors from NMC, Xpress Money encouraged women and men both to take a pledge towards better health by being aware of the risks that lead to breast cancer.
Eco-Everest Clean Up Expedition – Mount Everest, Nepal
Every year, hundreds of foreign and local trekkers attempt to reach Mount Everest or Sagarmatha – the world's highest peak. Additionally, thousands of tourists gather to witness the natural beauty of the mountain. But the increasing number of climbers and tourists to Mount Everest has put a lot of strain on the fragile eco-system, resulting in heaps of waste all the way from base camp to the peak. Furthermore, over the years, climatic changes in the region have caused snow to melt and reveal the waste hidden for decades – everything from oxygen cylinders and tents to climbing equipment.
Each of us has a responsibility towards maintaining the balance in the environment we live in and Xpress Money understands its responsibility as a corporate to give back to Mother Nature. With this thought, we supported Asian Trekking (P) Ltd. – a leading organizer of treks and expeditions in Nepal and Tibet, to launch the 'Xpress Money Eco-Everest Expedition 2012', a unique clean up expedition focused on Mount Everest.
The idea was to climb to the peak in an eco-sensitive manner and bringing down waste from the peak. The expedition used alternative energy solutions like the parabolic solar cookers, solar energies for lighting and SteriPENs for water purification. The expedition was led by Dawa Steven Sherpa, Managing Director, Asian Trekking, Nepal and Apa Sherpa, world record holder with 21 ascents to Mount Everest.
Education Program for the Young Generation – Philippines
Over 4000 grade one pupils from under-served public elementary schools in the Nueva Ecija, Mountain Province, Abra and Tawi-Tawi provinces of Philippines benefited from our contribution to the Unang Hakbang Sa Kinabukasan (UHSK) 2012 program developed by GMA Kapuso Foundation.
In an effort to further our promise to help improve the education of the younger generation in the Philippines, we committed 1 Million peso (approximately 22,000 USD) worth of school supplies to underprivileged children from various elementary schools of Philippines. The school supplies given out to kids included school backpacks, notebooks and pencils – the basic needs of a school-going child.
UHSK is an annual school opening program, aimed at addressing the looming problem of high dropout rate among poor Filipino children in public elementary schools nationwide. Our support for this school program is an offshoot of its larger 'Back-to-School' project initiated in United Arab Emirates (UAE) markets targeting Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with beneficiaries in the Philippines.
Community Marriage, Organized by AROMA UAE – Aluva, Kerala
Eleven couples were sanctified in holy matrimony for continued love and companionship in years to come by performing a traditional 'taali' tying ritual, in a community marriage function organized by Aluva Residents' Overseas Malayalees' Association (AROMA UAE) and Xpress Money
The function was held on 8 July 8 2012 at the ALUVA municipal town hall, Aluva Ernakulum district in Kerala. The couples were provided with 'taalis' (mangalsutras) and 'mettis' (toe-ring) by Xpress Money and AROMA UAE to culminate the wedding rituals. Additionally, the brides were gifted a saree for the wedding, 80 grams gold and INR 50,000 (approximately 800 USD). The grooms, on the other hand, were gifted traditional Kerala groom attire (silk shirt and white dhoti).
Donation Towards Relief Activities – Typhoon Pablo, Philippines
A super typhoon called Typhoon Pablo was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit southern Philippine island of Mindanao towards the end of 2012. It destroyed houses, disrupted communications, caused power outages, flooding and uprooted trees in its path. It also resulted in over 600 fatalities and left thousands homeless. Extending a helping hand to thousands of victims that were affected by the Typhoon Pablo, Xpress Money partnered with GMA Kapuso Foundation for relief operations. We donated a sum of PHP 400,000 (approximately 10,000 USD) to provide relief assistance such as food and medicines for the typhoon-stricken areas in Mindanao.
Fund-Raising Drive for Rehabilitation – Typhoon Sendong, Philippines
Xpress Money launched a 10-day collection drive from 20–31 December 2011 to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Sendong that had led to catastrophic damage in Philippines. The drive was conducted through offline and online mediums. For our offline campaign, we pledged a contribution of PHP 10 for every transaction sent from GCC countries to the Philippines during this period. On the online front, we used Facebook, where for every click on the 'Like' button on the Xpress Money's page, we contributed 1USD towards the noble cause. We were able to raise a sum of AED 25,000 (approximately 6800 USD) through this CSR campaign. This was pledged to GMA Kapuso Foundation, a Philippines-based NGO, towards the rehabilitation of flood victims.
Rehabilitation of Flood Hit Areas – Sindh and Punjab Provinces, Pakistan
After the highest recorded rainfall was observed in the Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan, flood hit the region in August 2011. The flood caused a lot of damage in its wake – leaving many homeless and killing many others, especially in the rural villages of the region. Xpress Money tied up with Al Khidmat foundation to ensure that relief was provided to the affected people. We helped erect 25 structures that would provide comfort and shelter to those who lost their homes and property. Additionally, since clean water was difficult to come by, a water purification plant was set up along with a medical camp to provide assistance to those who had been hurt in the torrential rains.
Ifthar Box Donation – Ajman Labour Camp, UAE
Many people come to the Middle East in hopes of pursuing their dreams. Many of them are construction workers. Scratching beyond the surface, a peek into the life of construction workers shows that they live with low wages and in challenging conditions in several labour camps across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. In fact, a recent study established how eight to ten labourers live in one room and are living an almost hand-to-mouth existence. When we realized how little external support these camps receive, we decided to step in and do our bit to ease their problems.
During Ramadan 2014, Xpress Money associated with an initiative called 'The Holy Month'. As part of this association, we packed and distributed Ifthar food packets at a labour camp in Ajman, UAE. Additionally, rather than distributing only perishable items like fruits in the food packets, we included products with a longer shelf-life, like biscuits and juice packets. For us, the smile on the faces of the labourers was our reward at the end of the day!
Blanket Donation – Refugees of Syrian Civil War, Jordan
More than 3 million Syrians, in an attempt to flee the civil war, left the southern provinces and effectively their homes and possessions. From these, almost 608,000 people headed towards the north into Jordan. The Syrian crisis is perhaps the biggest humanitarian emergency, and countries who are hosting the refugees could benefit from any support and help that came their way. When an extreme cold wave hit Jordan, Xpress Money made a decision to distribute blankets to the refugees in the Mafraq district of Jordan. "Our decision to extend warmth and comfort to the Syrian refugees comes at a time when an extreme cold wave has hit Jordan and we hope that our humble gesture will contribute to alleviating their misery," said Sudhesh Giriyan, Vice President & Business Head, Xpress Money.
Donation Towards Relief Operations – Typhoon Yolanda, Philippines
Typhoon Yolanda that hit and devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, was one of the strongest, deadliest tropical cyclones ever recorded. It caused catastrophic destruction, leaving many dead, many injured and many homeless.
In an attempt to support the relief operations for those affected by the typhoon, Xpress Money, through its global CSR program H.O.P.E, donated PHP 500,000 (approximately 11,000 USD) to ABS-CBN Foundation's Sagip Kapamilya. "As part of our commitment towards ensuring the welfare of our fellow Filipinos, Xpress Money is always ready to offer a helping hand to aid Filipino families, especially during such times of need," said Xpress Money Country Manager, Eduardo Cobangbang.
Rehabilitation of Classrooms – GMA Kapuso Foundation, Philippines
Along with the GMA Kapuso Foundation, we are proud to have completed the rehabilitation of classrooms in the Poponto Elementary School in Pangasinan. By donating 1 million Peso (approximately 22,000 USD) through the Kapuso School Development project, Xpress Money has successfully restored all the classrooms to full working capacity.
The exciting part is that one of the rooms will be reserved for Alternative Learning System – a non-formal education program for out-of-school youths, employees and senior citizens.
Long Term Educational Support and Training – 'Sightsavers', Globally
One of the landmark activities for Xpress Money in 2013 was the signing of an MOU with an NGO called Sightsavers. The organization works in 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people with disabilities.
By partnering with Sightsavers, we have pledged to support them in their sustainable projects in Ghana and Tanzania. Vinesh Nair- Vice President, Global MarComm & CSR, Xpress Money and Abdulla Bin Jassim Al Nuaimi- Director General, Sightsavers Middle East signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Vinesh Nair said "We are pleased to have partnered with Sightsavers Middle East, as they continue to do commendable work to improve the lives of the visually impaired. We believe that this initiative will have a positive impact on the lives of these individuals in the long-term, as they have immense potential to channelize their talents, if given the right opportunity and training.
Our focus in Ghana is to provide educational support and training to the partially sighted with the help of computer and assistive technology devices and training of tutors of ICT centres. In Tanzania, attention will be paid to empowering teachers to enhance their Braille skills and also to provide them with computer accessories, Braille materials and more.
Wheelchairs Donation – 'Valley of Love', UAE
For C.P Mathew, Chief Coordinator of Valley of Love, a Dubai-based non-profit voluntary organization, the driving factor for the group is their mission to be an effective intermediary in social and humanitarian causes and be a helping hand to those who are in need of support across various nationalities. In a private ceremony held at the Xpress Money office in Abu Dhabi, 100 wheelchairs were donated to Valley of Love, who has been providing humanitarian services to the needy since 1998. The wheelchairs were further distributed to the needy, through various hospitals in Dubai.
Speaking about the gesture, Sudhesh Giriyan, Vice President and Business Head, Xpress Money said: "With this contribution, we are once again reinforcing our sensitivity and focus on humanitarian issues and our commitment to actively be involved and address these issues for the betterment of society".
Book Donation Drive – Dharan Model School, Nepal
Education has been at the heart of Xpress Money's CSR program H.O.P.E. To that end, we conducted a book donation drive by donating text books to about 100 underprivileged students between grades VI to X of Dharan Model School in Nepal. The aim was to aid the education of underprivileged children by providing them with the basics of learning, in hope of a better education and a brighter future. Vinesh Nair, Vice President, Global Marketing & Communication, Xpress Money said, "An initiative like this will help us bring about a small change in the realm of bigger plans as we constantly evaluate opportunities across markets to bring even a slight ray of H.O.P.E to lives of people and make a difference."
Sponsorship of Cesar Guarin's Global Run, In Support of Overseas Filipino Workers
Filipino ultra-marathoner Cesar Guarin attempted a feat no one in Asia has ever accomplished – to cover 42,000 kilometres and 47 countries across the world through a 16-phase global run by 2016. Xpress Money has been proud to sponsor the seventh leg of the global run, that is, the GCC stage.
Combining endurance, perseverance and hard work, 57-year-old Guarin has been drawing inspiration from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to complete the marathon and bring a sense of triumph to Filipinos across the world. Throughout his run, he connects with OFW communities in the countries on his route. Guarin runs with the objective of financially supporting migrant Filipino workers around the world, and also to raise funds for Filipino street children.
Xpress Money association's with Cesar Guarin's is not just as a sponsor – for us, it is also about providing continued support to OFWs! "Guarin has dedicated his life's work to the new breed of Filipino heroes and we would like to show our continued commitment to support OFWs through him," said Vinesh Nair, Vice President, Global Marketing & Communications, Xpress Money
Promotion of Sports Education – Ethiopia
Like education, promoting sports-related education has been at the centre of our CSR efforts. For this reason, we associated with Mr. Teddy Dan, a resident of Shasamane, Ethiopia to help the Shasamane children pursue their love for Football and Cricket and utilize their energies creatively by introducing them to a whole new world of sports. Mr. Teddy, who is a qualified youth teacher, and is popularly known as the Reggae Singer among music lovers in Addis Ababa, believes in using sports as a medium to channelize youth energy. As part of this association, we distributed cricket training gear and football kits to the children.
School Adoption – Kolkata, India
Continuing our endeavors to support the education sector, we adopted St. Xavier's English School in Kolkata with an objective to provide underprivileged children with education and a good environment to study. Xpress Money refurbished the whole school's infrastructure and its premises including decent hygiene facilities for the students.
We also sponsored the education of 100 students for a year by providing for their school fees and all the necessary study materials required. The renovation of the school was completed in early 2013 and the school was inaugurated in March. The smiles on the children's faces on seeing their school in a new avatar was priceless.
Financial Literacy Programs – Labour camps, Saudi Arabia
More than 2000 people participated in a series of financial education camps called 'For a better tomorrow', organized by Xpress Money. The camps were organized to address our central theme of financial literacy and inclusion and they were conducted across labor camps and hospitals in Saudi Arabia. The camp was moderated by Mr. K.V. Shamsudheen, a financial expert from UAE, well renowned for such financial education sessions. He is also the Chairman of Pravasi Bhandu Welfare and Director of Barjill Geojit Securities UAE. He takes a special interest in talking to people about the positives of financial planning, so that the attendees learn to secure their present as well as their future.
Financial Support for Medical Treatment – A Young School Girl Called Noor, Kuwait
Noor Rahman, a 10th grade student studying in Kuwait had been diagnosed with Bone Marrow Cancer. None of her family members' marrow matched hers and she was required to go abroad for treatment and transplant. All put together, her treatment was exorbitantly expensive at approximately 1,00,000 KWD (over 35,000 USD). Xpress Money pitched in to contribute a considerable amount towards her transplant so that she could make a speedy recovery. This initiative was born through ideas received from the highly engaged fan base on our official Xpress Money Facebook page.
Blanket Donation Drive – Bangladesh
Another initiative born out of social media engagement was the Blanket Donation Drive conducted in Bangladesh, for which we are sincerely thankful to our social media fans. It was our fans' suggestion that galvanized our intent to initiate a community program in Bangladesh. Realizing the intensity of the cold-wave in Bangladesh, we decided to extend our support to the lesser privileged in Bangladesh by donating 800 blankets. The drive was done in association with RDRS, a renowned NGO and one of our agent partners at Narayanpur Char under Nageshwari thana in Kurigram district.
Education for the Girl Child – Bihar, India
In partnership with 'Give India', India's most trusted online donation platform and the 'Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra' (NBJK), an NGO in Bihar, Xpress Money sponsored one year's education of 51 underprivileged girls in the state Bihar, India.
This was achieved via an innovative online jigsaw puzzle put up on our Facebook page. Users were encouraged to solve the simple puzzle and make the highest score. One-third of the highest score would be donated by us towards the cause. We received an overwhelming response to the puzzle with a whopping 11,302 games played – the winner alone having played 489 times. The amount we ultimately donated exceeded the amount that had initially been pledged because of the fabulous response we received.