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An Empty Office Chair Can Transform a Community
BY KARIN AU AND HELEN GALL
2021 marks a meaningful milestone in our journey towards an inclusive future for our Cisco Hong Kong site. The Hong Kong office recently completed its transformation to a hybrid workplace, creating more collaboration spaces to be “future ready.”
Alongside the transformation of our workplace, “Giving Back” has become the key theme to accelerate our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program in Hong Kong.
During the office transformation, the team set a three-phased giving back goal to ensure that the support and care delivered to the local community was also sustainable.
Transforming unwanted furniture to community care
Due to the pandemic, working from home had become essential, so each employee’s home office needed to support their health and productivity.
The office transformation would result in some surplus office equipment, so Workplace Resources supported our idea of offering employees surplus ergonomic chairs for their home offices and raising money for the local community.
Everyone who took a chair home was encouraged to donate to the Bo Charity Foundation. The funds raised supported Food Angel, a local nonprofit, and were matched by Cisco Foundation. Thanks to this support, they prepared and delivered over 14,000 nutritious hot meals to those in need in the local community.
In partnership with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, almost 100 additional surplus pieces of office furniture were donated to seven local non-governmental organizations, including Youth Global Network, Variety (The Children's Charity), Windshield Charitable Foundation Sham Shui Po Social Services, and more.
We continuously look at ways to improve our environment. Rehoming surplus furniture not only prevented these items from going to landfill but it also helped people in need in our local community.
Virtual painting workshop
If you have ever painted or colored with your child, then you know it can be quite therapeutic.
We wanted to take that experience and spread art’s healing powers with children from low-income families. So, we invited a local artist to conduct a virtual painting workshop. The session took place over Webex, so participants could join from anywhere.
Students from the Cisco Networking Academy, Munsang College (HK Island), and Ying Wa College joined the virtual workshop. They experienced how the power of technology can transform communities firsthand while discovering the importance of giving back.
Cisco team members and students from these organizations learned the basics of how to draw cartoons. These were then printed out on cards and turned into a coloring game for children from low-income families.
Many of these children have no art materials or toys in their life, so it was genuinely rewarding to see their happy smiles as they colored.
Cisco food bags
During the pandemic, families suddenly found themselves out of work, without enough money to buy food. And those who struggled with food insecurity before the pandemic now struggled even more.
Food scarcity affects nutrition and can have long-lasting effects on young children’s memory and social and learning skills.
In Hong Kong, we teamed up with Oxfam for the “Give A Meal” program. Cisco team members prepared food bags containing ten essential food items, including fruit juices, noodles, rice, cakes, and biscuits. These were delivered to over 150 families experiencing food insecurity.
More than 250 Cisco team members took part in these projects, resulting in over 200 volunteering hours and 14,000 donated hot meals to support at least 150 low-income families.
Giving back is part of our DNA. Our team in Hong Kong continues to advocate for causes they care deeply about by volunteering, donating, and participating in programs that positively impact communities to power an inclusive future where everyone can thrive.
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