Social Action Program Series 4
The activities of the Isuzu Social Club (ISC)

Isuzu Motors, as a “Good Corporate Citizen” in Thailand, has been carrying out social action initiatives over the past 50 years. Representational of these initiatives is the awarding of scholarships to children of employees by Isuzu Motors Company Thailand (IMCT). So far, a total of 2018 recipients have benefited from this assistance over the past six years. In addition, three Isuzu Group companies in Thailand have jointly established the Isuzu Group Foundation (IGF). They provided a donation of two million bahts to help the victims of domestic flooding last year. The social contributions of these two programs are indeed broad ranging, but the additional individual efforts of IMCT employees make these social contributions unique. In this issue, we will look at the activities of the Isuzu Social Club (ISC), a group run by IMCT employees.
 
 
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ISC was officially established in 1991 as a company-endorsed social action group, but voluntary-based activities started 10 years before the club’s formation. In 2005, the company started to provide financial assistance to support these activities. A unique aspect of the ISC’s efforts is that they are carried out entirely by volunteers drawn from the company’s workforce. A committee of 16 workplace representatives led by Chairman Mr. Boontham administers the ISC, with nearly all IMCT employees contributing to the club’s activities. The content of the activities are closely related to the hometown communities of the employees. A significant number of IMCT employees hail from regional areas, and these employees know thoroughly what their hometowns are in need of or lack. The ISC first gathers requests from communities centered around the employees’ hometowns and then selects around 10 projects annually.

These are deemed appropriate by the ISC Committee to meet the objectives of the club and correspond to the available budget. Naturally, ISC representatives visit elementary schools and other candidate sites before deciding to include them in the program.

The most vibrant activity of the ISC is the support for maintenance of elementary schools. The core objectives of this initiative are to (1) improve quality of life, (2) improve the environment, and (3) support the hometowns of IMCT employees. These outreach activities include the donation of meal expenses to elementary schools, maintenance of school canteens and improvement of toilet areas. The ISC’s support for these quality-of-life improvements are deeply rooted in Thai society. IMCT employees learned about the Lunch Project sponsored by Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a figure deeply respected by the Thai people. Following in the footsteps of Her Royal Highness, they were happy to be able to offer similar assistance. The ISC started by providing meals to elementary school students who could not afford to have an adequate lunch. The activities grew from providing just one meal to lifestyle improvements, making their development very unique and inspiring. For example, last year the ISC donated baby chicks for breeding to elementary schools in the Tak Province. Construction of the chicken pens was subcontracted to local builders, providing an opportunity for cash flow into the community. Another activity involved the donation of piglets for breeding and having local contractors build the necessary pig pens. These donations for poultry and piggery are not transient contributions, but serve as a means for poor communities to become self-sustained.

Last year, the ISC undertook 10 projects listed below:
Donation of chicken pen for chickens and baby chicks;
Donation of play equipment (construction contracted to local builders);
Donation of sports equipment (2 projects);
Construction of hygienic toilets;
Donation of a building that includes a library (2 projects);
Donations to Haiti earthquake victims;
Donations to flood victims; and
A consolatory donation to a young boy who fell from a roof while cleaning a temple (40,000 bahts).


The budget for these activities from last year was supported by donations of 250,000 – 300,000 bahts from IMCT employees and 150,000 bahts contributed by the company. The ISC’s effort is a grassroots activity that focuses on supporting underprivileged people in the hometowns of the IMCT employees. The main difficulty faced by the ISC in its operations was an insufficient budget that limited the assistance it could offer. However, the club deals with this by carrying over the aid it could not provide to the following year. As a result, they received very little complaints from the recipients. One committee member said that the happiest moment for employees participating in the ISC activities was watching the dance performances given by recipient children in front of their newly constructed chicken pens and libraries. The committee member also said that the activities were fun and allowed the employees to share the joy felt by the children receiving the support.

The club is looking to tackle environmental issues of the area around the company as part of its future activity plan. The club made advances to community authorities regarding the necessity of tree-planting, an environmental initiative through which the club wishes to contribute to the Thai society. The fact that these individual-based social action programs are kept up seems to be underpinned by the Buddhist concept of TAMBUN (charity donations), which is deeply rooted in Thai society.
 

 
    
 


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