Barbie goes bald for kids with cancer

Mattel has announced that it would be producing a bald version of the famous Barbie doll for distribution to children’s hospitals directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss as they deal with cancer and alopecia.

This move followed an online campaign started by parents to encourage the company to create a doll to help children suffering from hair-loss feel better about themselves.

The dolls will come with wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories. However, the dolls will not be available for sale in retail stalls.

Earth Hour 2012 Official Video

This Earth Hour 2012: 8.30pm, Saturday 31 March, celebrate your action for the planet with the people of world by switching off your lights for an hour, then go beyond the hour.

From its inception as a single-city initiative — Sydney, Australia – in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change. Earth Hour 2011 created history as the world’s largest ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 135 countries across every continent coming together to celebrate an unambiguous commitment to the one thing that unites us all — the planet.

Initiatives to promote volunteerism, social enterprises

President Tony Tan Keng Yam (second from left) at the launch of this year's President's Challenge

President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Tuesday announced two new elements to the President’s Challenge 2012, to expand its scope beyond fundraising.

These include the President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive and President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award.

The initiatives are aimed at encouraging people to go beyond money and give time, talent and business acumen to help the less fortunate.

Laksania, a social enterprise, trains and employs beneficiaries who were formerly from the Institute of Mental Health.

And to encourage the setting up of more of such social enterprises, a President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award was announced.

This is to recognise outstanding social enterprises which are innovative and have made significant contributions to help the disadvantaged in the community.

This will be the only award within the social enterprise sector in Singapore that provides recognition to outstanding social enterprises, for their contributions made to the social service sector.

The award will have three categories – Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year, Youth Social Enterprise of the Year and Social Enterprise of the Year.

This year’s President’s Challenge will also include a Volunteer Drive to promote volunteerism.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre will work with corporations, institutions, community and charitable organisations to raise awareness of the impact of volunteering. They will also create more volunteering opportunities within communities.

President Tan said: “Our traditional charities and voluntary welfare organisations are still very important and should be supported. Young people have new ideas, new outlets for energy and I think that volunteerism and social enterprise will reinforce the value of the President’s Challenge.

“If you can do all of this, then this will encourage Singaporeans to give, I hope not only their money, which is important, but also of themselves, of their talents, their time, their enterprise, and together we will build an inclusive, caring and engaged society in Singapore.”

The President’s Challenge will be raising funds for 55 social service organisations this year, up from the 39 last year.

Source: CNA

Firms giving staff time off to do volunteer work


By Tay Suan Chiang

Business planning and development manager Lee Chen Chuen takes up to three days of leave annually for volunteering activities such as building homes for needy families in Batam.

The time-off does not come from his annual leave but from the volunteer service leave granted by his employer, Standard Chartered Bank.

‘Regardless of how busy we are at work, having three days of volunteering leave allows me to take some official time off to make a small but significant contribution to the community,’ said Mr Lee, 32.


‘Regardless of how busy we are at work, having three days of volunteering leave allows me to take some official time off to make a small but significant contribution to the community.’

Standard Chartered business planning and development manager Lee Chen Chuen

The desire to help staff do good has spurred more companies to approve special leave to let employees take part in the firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes or other volunteering efforts. These companies tend to be large ones, from investment firms to banks to multinational companies. Most give two to three days of volunteer service leave.

Source: The Straits Times