Samsung Employee Volunteer Program Marks 6 Years of Meaningful ContributionsShare open/close
For the past six years, Samsung Electronics has carried out its Samsung Employee Volunteer Program to help improve the lives of others in communities across the globe. Through the program, participants have the opportunity to go on a week-long volunteer mission to other countries to share their talents and provide resources where they’re needed most.
Since the program’s establishment, more than 1,000 employees have opened their hearts to over 7,000 people around the world. Starting this August, around 200 Samsung employees will travel to six countries including South Africa, Myanmar and Uzbekistan to continue to carry out the program’s mission.
Samsung Newsroom sat down with Jaeran Song, Community Relations Manager in Samsung Electronics, to discuss the Samsung Employee Volunteer Program’s past activities, meaningful stories and upcoming plans.
Q. How did you come to launch the overseas volunteer program for Samsung employees?
The Samsung Employee Volunteer Program was started in 2010. At that time, the number of Samsung Electronics employees totaled approximately 200,000. In an effort to utilize the talents of its large workforce for the betterment of society, the company began implementing programs to connect employees and communities around the world.
Q. What kinds of activities have been carried out since the program started?
Starting with Senegal in 2010, we have sent about 1,100 Samsung employees to volunteer in 28 countries, including Ethiopia, DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Zambia, Vietnam and Cambodia, among others across Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. Samsung’s teams have been able to reach more than 7,000 people in these regions.
Working with local NGOs in the target countries, we identified projects to meet the greatest needs of the local communities. In 23 countries, we built IT classrooms equipped with PCs, monitors and other digital education devices, and provided basic IT education programs for the students.
In addition, we have run our Project-Oriented Volunteer Activity program 11 different times. This program allows our employees to take the lead in designing and providing items most essential to improving the quality of life for local residents.
Q. How do the employees who have participated in the program feel about the activities?
Many participants have found that the program is a real opportunity to bolster their commitment to serving others. In fact, when teams return, they often continue to collaborate to start more volunteer activities in Korea as well.
For instance, when we found out that there were not enough books for children during our volunteer visit to the DRC in 2012, we worked with our fellow designers at Samsung to develop a set of illustrated storybooks and donated our work to children in the DRC. And one participant, who went to India on the volunteer program in 2013, offered his prize money from an in-house contest at Samsung to donate sewing machines to support the female students of the town he visited.
Q. When do you feel most rewarded as a person in charge of the overseas volunteer program?
Seeing our employees and local people closely communicate and build rapport makes me proud to work for something meaningful and rewarding. Whenever I hear good news from the sites, I feel a sense of achievement, especially when our students continue to learn with the materials we left behind, and when they secure quality jobs or win awards in contests because of the things they learned from us. Such news really pleases me because it proves that we are making a meaningful difference in the lives of the local students.
Q. Please give us some specific examples of such cases.
In 2013, our program volunteers were working in Ethiopia, teaching students how to use Photoshop and edit video clips. Following our return, we later learned that two of our students landed jobs as wedding photographers and videographers based on the skills that we taught them.
Likewise, when we were volunteering in Uzbekistan, we taught students how to utilize drones. We felt it was worthwhile when we were contacted by one of the students who told us that he is continuing to study drones and wants to become an engineer so he can program an auto flight solution.
Q. What’s the most memorable project you’ve come across?
In 2014, a group of our volunteers went to Tupe, a tribal village in rural Brazil that we had to travel a long way by boat to get to. Due to an unstable power supply, at night, the town was in total darkness. Learning about these constraints, we came up with a brilliant idea to create Shake D’light—a makeshift flashlight that can be recharged through shaking by transforming kinetic energy into electrical energy.
For the project, we developed the prototype in advance and taught the local students how to reproduce it by inviting them to try to make one of their own in class. Based on the experience, we came up with a more advanced version for our activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Shake D’light II was made of easily accessible local materials.
Q. What are your plans for this year’s program?
We are planning to send about 200 employees to six countries including Ethiopia, Myanmar and Uzbekistan from August to November of this year to improve and cultivate the environments for IT education.
Working with the local NGOs and Samsung employees there, we intend to comprehend critical local needs to provide something that makes a real difference through the project. For example, we are going to build an e-learning center for students living in remote villages who are deprived of educational opportunities because of their house chores. And we are planning to identify business opportunities to help Ethiopian women start their own businesses and become self-sufficient.
Samsung Employee Volunteer Program’s 6 Years of Meaningful Contributions
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