A Tale of Two Cities

May 11, 2016 | Author: Nick Maynard

With the exception of the Muppet’s version of a Christmas Carol, starring Michael Caine as the troubled and miserly Scrooge, I have never been a big fan of Charles Dickens. You may find it rather strange then that I choose to borrow the title of one of his books for my latest musings.

The reason will, I hope, become obvious when I draw attention to, and comparisons between, two recent Honeywell Hometown Solutions (HHS) events. HHS is Honeywell’s award winning approach to global corporate citizenship and social responsibility where every day Honeywell employees are making a difference in the communities in which they live.

The two events I wish to talk about took place in Dubai and in Vietnam, and honestly I do not think there is a better example of the diversity, local relevance and credibility of the HHS platform.

Let’s take Dubai first. In one of Honeywell’s first CSR initiatives in the United Arab Emirates, I was lucky to be involved with the Think Science fair. A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) competition organized by the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, Think Science is run through schools and universities across the UAE. The annual event, which we were sponsoring for the first time, seeks to inspire, educate and empower Emirati youth to consider higher education and ultimately a career in engineering. Think Science is consistent with the UAE 2021 vision which outlines the need for private and public sectors to work together to create a competitive economy that will be driven by knowledgeable and innovative Emirati talent.

During the Think Science Fair, which showcased the competition entries, there was a wealth of engineering talent on display which does bode well for the future diversification of the UAE economy and the development of an engaged population. The students attending the Think Science competition came from a range of backgrounds, some extremely affluent– something that became apparent when one of the most common issues we experienced during the event was that the students latest IPhone 6’s were too large for the Google VR cardboard googles we were giving away.

The second HHS initiative I wish to relate took place in Vietnam, involved my colleague Sherry Shen and could not have been more contrasted. The event took place at the Ngai Thau primary school, in the Lao Cai province - an eight-hour drive from Hanoi City through largely mountainous jungle terrain. Ngai Thau had been selected as one of the venues for a new Honeywell Multimedia Learning Center.

For children who walk more than 18 miles from their homes to these boarding schools each week, the contribution of the Honeywell Hometown Solutions grant can hardly be overestimated. Older students will finally have the opportunity to learn how to use computers like students in the big cities and younger children can look forward to more engaging lessons, thanks to the TV screens and other digital educational tools.

It’s not my place, nor is my intention to suggest that one of the initiatives was more deserving than the other. The purpose of the contrast is to bring into focus the fact that regardless of the location, regardless of the differing needs and circumstances of the student – Honeywell Hometown Solutions was able to make a difference and was in my opinion able to influence and inspire a new generation of engineers in both regions.

For more information about Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative, visit our website.

Nick Maynard

Nick Maynard

Marketing Communications Manager