This summer, Trip.com, an international online travel brand and a Ctrip Group company, sent volunteers abroad for the first time, to participate in a week-long charity program in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. The initiative marked Trip.com’s first international volunteer project, and is indicative of the trajectory of the company’s international CSR efforts under CEO Jane Sun.
From July 7-15, four volunteers representing Trip.com visited Sierra Leone to support local communities in various ways, including supporting local mothers and infants at local clinics in the fight against malnutrition, providing educational assistance and laptops to local schools, promoting health awareness through sporting events, and raising environmental awareness through tree-planting activities.
“Everyone at Trip.com is a global citizen. In order to keep in touch with our philosophy of meaningful corporate social responsibility, it is crucial that we continue to give back to the world,” says Ms. Jane Sun, CEO of Ctrip Group. “Sierra Leone is a long-term focus of ours, and we are committed to doing our part to ensure those in need are well-supported. As global citizens, we are all members of the same family. At Trip.com, it is our duty to help communities grow with us, and contribute to their safety, wellbeing and peaceful development.”
Trip.com volunteers paid multiple visits to local clinics and numerous hospitals in Freetown to deliver and distribute Plumpy’Nut nutritional supplies, and assisted doctors and nurses at the country’s only children’s hospital, Ola During Children’s Hospital. Trip.com volunteers were taught how to identify, monitor, and document malnutrition through the use of Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tapes.
A steady flow of mothers and their infants streamed into the Freetown hospital in hope of receiving further attention. All children were given Plumpy’Nut by the volunteers and separated into groups according to the severity of their malnutrition. More than 20 children stayed in each ward, awaiting further monitoring and assistance.
Last year, Trip.com’s donations of Plumpy’Nut peanut-based paste saved the lives of 2000 children in Sierra Leone. This year, Trip.com made a further donation of 1710 cartons of the Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) designed for the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in children to charitable causes in Sierra Leone. Each carton will save the life of one child treated in hospitals in Freetown or the local clinics around Ponka Village.
During the trip, volunteers also visited Ponka Academy, a local primary school, where they provided children with educational supplies, clothes and stationery.
Ponka Academy will be adding a secondary school to its current campus and is currently undergoing expansion. Volunteers also helped with the expansion of the school, as well as renovation and decoration.
Environmental Awareness and Sporting Event
Trip.com volunteers planted trees to raise environmental awareness, and participated in sporting events, working toward promoting an active lifestyle and community spirit among students studying at Ponka Academy and the neighboring villages.
Having suffered from the turmoil of the Civil War until 2002, and then Ebola in 2014, Sierra Leone is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world and one of the poorest in Africa. Trip.com hope that its efforts in Sierra Leone will provide relief to those in need, and raise global awareness of the need for aid in the region.