The first 20 scholars selected for the Honda Dreams Fund

Honda Malaysia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Malaysia recently launched the Honda Dreams Fund and introduced the inaugural 20 successful scholars who will be provided with the means to achieve their dreams.

The Honda Dreams Fund (HDF) is Honda Malaysia?s initiative which focuses specifically on less fortunate youths, covering their tertiary education fees and providing allowances to meet living expenses for the duration of their courses. Successful candidates will have the freedom to choose their courses of study at any local institutions.

Speaking at the event, Atsushi Fujimoto, MD/Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia said: ?The ?Power of Dreams? is not just a slogan. In Honda, the phrase captures the essence that makes Honda unique. This is because dreams inspire us. And realizing dreams fuels our determination as we embrace challenges to bring joy to our customers and society where we exist.?

?This is the vision passed on to us from our founder, Mr Soichiro Honda. Much of Honda?s achievements today stems from simple dreams that materialized into real-life accomplishments. This is also the vision behind the Honda Dreams Fund ? giving under-privileged young Malaysians who dare to dream, a chance to fulfill their dreams and achieve a better future through education. At the same time, Honda hopes to be able to contribute to the human capital development in Malaysia. The uniqueness of the Honda Dreams Fund is that it offers non-binding scholarships as Honda Malaysia believes that the recipients should be allowed to mould their future after they have graduated,? added Mr. Fujimoto.

In his message to the 20 HDF scholars, Mr. Fujimoto expressed his hope that the story behind Honda?s ?Power of Dreams? and the life of Mr Honda will inspire and motivate them to believe in their own dreams and to have the Challenging Spirit to achieve their dreams.

To ensure unbiased award and disbursements of the fund, Honda Malaysia partners with UNDP in managing the process. In evaluating and selecting the candidates, UNDP worked with an independent advisory panel comprising members from various NGOs. The NGOs in the advisory panel are Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), All-Women?s Action Society (AWAM) and Malaysian Youth Council (MYC).

The selection process for the final 20 scholars went through different stages, starting from a call to submit essays about their dreams. From there, 60 candidates were shortlisted and rewarded with a 3-day motivational workshop entitled ?Dare to Dream?. Evaluation during the workshop and an interview process determined the final 20.

UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam Dr Richard Leete said, ?It gives me great pleasure to participate in the launch of the Honda Dreams Fund, a new private sector partnership between Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and UNDP. This is a milestone that we are proud of. UNDP is extremely encouraged by this exemplary commitment of Honda Malaysia to support this initiative ? supporting underprivileged youths to fulfill their career objectives and subsequently their ?dreams? of a better life. This project is also consistent with the Ninth Malaysia Plan which outlines as one of its strategic thrusts ?Empowering youths for the future through improved access to education and training?.?

Soichiro Honda had many dreams which he pursued and among them was to be tops in Formula 1 – which he and Honda Motor Company made a reality

The Honda Dreams Fund is Honda?s way of sharing with Malaysians their ?Power of Dreams? and ?Challenging Spirit? philosophies. From conquering the Formula 1 racing circuits since the 1960?s, to creating ASIMO, the world?s most advanced humanoid robot, and taking to the skies with the HondaJet, Honda is a company that is built on realizing dreams.

An extremely happy scholar from Negeri Sembilan, Shantakumar A/L Sinniah said, ?I still cannot believe that I have won the scholarship. It is truly a dream come true! I dream of becoming a lawyer and I dream everyday of being given the financial assistance to pursue further studies. I am very thankful to God, to Honda and to the trainers at the workshop for all this. The 3-day workshop was wonderful; I wished we could stay longer. I learnt so much and formed many friendships. Even if I don?t get the scholarship, I will still be thankful for the opportunity to attend the workshop.?

Honda?s commitment to the society where it is in covers many areas of philanthropic activities. In its commitment towards corporate social responsibility efforts, Honda Malaysia is also sponsoring the ?Save Our Sumatran Rhino? project, an environmental conservation effort focusing on a rhino species found mainly in Malaysia. This project was launched in January 2006 in partnership with WWF-Malaysia.

Through both the ?Rhino Rescue Project? and the ?Honda Dreams Fund?, Honda Malaysia is committed to give back to Malaysia and Malaysians and become a company that society wants to exist.

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