Kia Motors Corporation Regional HQ/ Asia Deputy General Manager H. M. Sun and Kia Motors (Lanka) Limited Managing Director Mahen Thambiah with some of the Korean students at the symbolic presentation of Kia’s contribution towards the construction of the pre-school building
Children of the Dikkowita area in Hendala have received a new purpose-built pre-school thanks to the generosity of a group of Korean students and funding support from Korean car maker Kia.
The group of 100 Korean students engaged in the project under the ‘Happy Move Global Youth Programme,’ a worldwide CSR initiative conceptualised and financially supported by Kia Motors.
The Korean volunteers were joined by three Sri Lankan college students to help build the 2,112 square foot preschool comprising of five rooms of 422 square feet each. Kia Motors donated Rs.15 million (US$100,000) towards the construction.
In addition, Kia also provided airfare, accommodation and logistics for the 100 Korean student volunteers that participated in the construction of the floor and walls of the building, helping move cement, sand, rocks and bricks. The students also contributed towards the community by getting involved with the neighbourhood children through painting, making toys and playing games.
Besides facilitating the education of young children, the new preschool will also serve a centre for after-school programmes such as teaching English, painting and music.
The centre is to be managed Korea Food for the Hungry International (KFHI) and is intended to benefit underprivileged families of the neighbourhood. The preschool and the afterschool programmes will initially educate a total of 80 students, but the KFHI will work to increase the number of beneficiaries thereafter.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the preschool, graced by representatives from Kia Motors Korea and Sri Lanka, Kia Motors (Lanka) Managing Director Mahen Thambiah said: “Including Sri Lanka in the Happy Move Global Youth Programme this is year is very encouraging and epitomises our social responsibility beyond building environment-friendly vehicles.”
The summer of 2017 marked the 19th edition of the Happy Move Global Youth Programme. Korean student volunteers travelled to Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Cambodia under the programme this year to participate in community projects.
The ethos of the Happy Move Global Youth Programme revolves around raising young people to be future leaders, fostering the exchange of cultures by creating co-working opportunities between Korean and international youths, and contributing towards the international community
This programme has been held twice annually for the past 10 years and grants Korean students the opportunity to volunteer in 21 countries including China, India, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hungary, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Laos, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana, Malaysia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Cambodia. A total of 8,500 Korean students have volunteered under the Happy Move Global Youth Programme to date.
While residing in these countries for approximately a month and a half, the students volunteer to build local schools, houses and community centres in lesser privileged neighbourhoods, raise environment awareness in the local communities, teach traffic safety, basic engineering and hygiene, and introduce traditional Korean culture to the communities they work with.