Do-good, feel-good day for global bank employeesBy Stephen Norries A. Padilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Hundreds of Citibank Philippines employees stayed away from their computers for one day and wielded mops, brooms and paintbrushes to get the Tanza National High School (TNHS) in Navotas City ready for another school year.
The 250 or so employees ignored the early morning rain that caused flooding of the roads leading to the school to participate in their 7th Global Community Day (GCD).
The annual event gives Citi employees, alumni, family and friends the opportunity to come together and serve local communities.
This year’s activity was even more significant because Citibank celebrated last Saturday its 200th anniversary, prompting an earlier GCD than its usual schedule in October.
“Volunteerism has always been a strong value among Citi employees, and this year reaching out to various communities is made even more meaningful as we commemorate Citi’s legacy in the local communities,” said Citibank country officer Sanjiv Vohra.
Citibank chief executive officer Vikram Pandit said, “There is no better way to celebrate our 200th anniversary than by honoring our history, embracing the future and working together to strengthen the communities where we live and work.”
For the GCD, Citibank employees, wearing their volunteer shirts, worked all day on and off the school campus.
Sales people, team leaders and managers worked side by side to give the TNHS’ two-story building a general cleaning. While some repainted outside the wooden chairs, others swept and mopped classroom floors. One group was assigned to put plastic covers on textbooks.
Although the job was physically demanding and the weather was unpredictable, the volunteers were all smiles and in good spirits, teasing each other as they went about their tasks.
“I did not expect the site of the rehabilitation project to be this far,” said Elisa Magbanua, Citibank sales service officer. “But it’s all worth it since I know that I am doing my part to help other people.”
Apart from doing actual work, Citibank also donated 30 personal computers to the school’s computer laboratory to replace defective units that students could no longer use. The bank also donated 40 PCs to the local government for distribution to other public schools.
GDC is conducted in 92 countries and participated in by around 100,000 Citibank employees. The volunteers have committed themselves to work in 1,300 service projects that will benefit local communities. The projects include building homes, spending time with street children, hosting sports clinics, teaching kids, building classrooms, planting trees and cleaning beaches among others.
In the Philippines, the activities started in May with more than 4,000 Citibank volunteers nationwide participating. Half of the volunteers have been working to finish 200 homes right in Tanza in partnership with Habitat for Humanity that aims to build at least 500 houses by December.
The project aims to provide decent housing and better communities for deserving families displaced last year by Typhoon “Pedring.” Volunteers have also been planting trees in the relocation site, repainting public school classrooms and engaging children in fun activities while teaching them about proper hygiene, nutrition, and arts and crafts.