Children play with the educational sets they have been given by HSBC volunteers
Dinesh, a transport and administration manager based at HSBC’s Global Service Centre in Chennai, had an idea to use waste to make a real difference to children’s lives.
The thought first came to him back in 2010 when he saw waste paper leaving the office to be recycled in exchange for very small cash sums. He wondered then whether it would be possible to trade it for educational equipment to help local school children instead.
He took the idea to his boss, who liked it. Once they had secured a partner, the Wealth out of Waste project was born.
By working together we have the ability to take the good work being done by non-governmental organisations and charities to another level
Six years on and the project has brought together a community of volunteers at HSBC’s Global Service Centre in Chennai that has provided educational packs for hundreds of under-privileged children from nearby schools.
“Once a month children come to our offices, listen to a talk given by our volunteers about environmental issues and then they receive an educational kit, which includes a notebook, pens and a geometry set. Beyond the material value of the kits, the children and the volunteers both get a lot out of these days. It’s really touching,” says Dinesh.
As HSBC has reduced the amount of waste it produces, the scope of the paper collection has altered. Now as well as recycling office paper waste, employees also bring in newspapers from home and elsewhere. Dinesh says the HSBC volunteers involved in the project are quite competitive about how much paper they gather, as the more they recycle the more kits can be supplied to children.
HSBC volunteer Dinesh
Since 2012, the Wealth out of Waste project has recycled about 64 tonnes of paper waste and helped about 1,000 children.
“When people find out about the project, they are always keen to get involved. Volunteering gives you a tremendous sense of pleasure. There’s a real satisfaction in knowing that you are helping someone else,” says Dinesh, who also gets involved in other charitable initiatives. “This is a project that supports education and raises awareness about the environment.”
He says it is important that organisations such as HSBC are able to give back to society: “By working together we have the ability to take the good work being done by non-governmental organisations and charities to another level.”
Dinesh is one of many HSBC volunteers around the world who give up hours of their time every year to help good causes. In 2015 HSBC employees spent 304,555 hours on voluntary activities during work time.
An Olive Ridley turtle
Volunteers help Olive Ridley turtles
Along with hundreds of other HSBC India employees based in Chennai and Vizag, Dinesh also volunteers for a conservation programme that protects the endangered Olive Ridley turtle.
The olive-coloured sea turtles live in tropical regions around the Pacific, Indian and South Atlantic oceans. During nesting season the turtles come ashore in vast numbers to lay their eggs before returning immediately to the sea. The survival of the turtles and their unhatched young has been threatened by a range of factors including illegal poaching, fishing, rising sea temperatures and destruction of habitat.
Under the guidance of marine life experts, this year about 550 HSBC volunteers from India helped turtles to get to their nesting ground and moved more than 5,000 eggs to hatcheries. Once hatched the young turtles are then released into the sea.