A Community Project with a Difference

Singapore, 3 September 2002 – None of the usual stuff – that was foremost on the minds of the 24 staff of DuPont Dow Elastomers (DDE) as they figured out a way in which to do their part for the less fortunate.

What emerged was a plan to spend half a day with beneficiaries of The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) helping in their daily work to produce handmade magnets for sale. The difference? DDE’s volunteer involvement extended far beyond the shores of Singapore to their counterpart in the United States to provide the materials for the magnet project.

DDE took advantage of its technology and produced Tyrin®/EVA foam and Tyrin®-based magnets as materials for the project to fabricate 5,000 fridge magnets. The company hopes to raise more than $12,000 from the sale of the magnets for the disabled of SPD.

“We wanted to break away from the usual mindset of organising an outing to a place of interest. We thought that there would be other organisations who would have already brought them to such places. So we came up with an idea that would bring the best of our organisation to them!” said one of the key organisers of the event.

The entire DDE workforce spent the morning of 29 August getting to know SPD’s beneficiaries and fabricating the magnets alongside their newfound friends. The joint efforts showed in the interesting designs of the magnets comprising flowers, animals and symbols.

The light foam, square magnets come in 8 different designs and in a myriad of colours. Each measuring 2 inches by 2 inches, the fridge magnets can hold notes and reminders and can be used on metallic surfaces or to colour up any wall.

“As we focus our attention on growing our businesses, we must never lose sight of the fact that we all form an integral part of the society we live in. What we do as individuals and as a company, has impact on the people around us and touches lives, just like a ripple in a pond,” said Mr John R Breitenstein, President and Managing Director of Dupont Dow Elastomers Pte Ltd.

“It was very enjoyable. We didn’t work like we normally do, but still we got a lot of things done,” said Juraimi bin Jaafar, a beneficiary of SPD’s Work Activity Centre.

The magnets priced at S$2.50 each are sold both locally as well as to DDE’s contacts in United States, China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Korea, Hong Kong among other countries. So far, all the magnets have been snapped up. SPD beneficiaries will be spending the next few weeks to fulfill the orders. This work project is part of the vocational training for people with disabilities at the Society’s sheltered workshop.

Aside from handmade magnets, SPD’s beneficiaries also produce candle and cardholders, hand painted mirrors and greeting cards as well as engage in various contract work.