Since 2001, Pruksa Real Estate has tasked itself to promote education: at least 400 scholarships per annum are promised.
Education is at the heat of the property firm's CSR campaign, simply because its founder and top executive himself suffered dearly from financial difficulties when he was young. Good grades won him scholarships and now he became one of the richest Thais.
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"My family did not have enough money to support my education. I had to work and was lucky to win scholarships from the secondary-school level to the university level. Without the scholarships, my life would have been much different from now," Pruksa's chief executive officer Thongma Vijitpongpun said at interview with 'The Nation' about the reason that Pruksa Real Estate Plc's corporate social responsibility (CSR) has focused on children and community.
"That's why I want to extend the opportunity to others as education can change their lives and some could one day become the main drivers of the country's economic growth."
The scholarship programme started in 2001, when the company successfully resurrected from the financial crisis. Unlike the company, many households suffering from crisis still could not find way to support their children's education. The project was kicked start then as the company amassed some funds to support the children of its customers, employees and poor families living near its housing projects, Thongma said.
From the beginning, it promised to extend more than 400 scholarships per annum, for students in the primary, secondary and university levels.
Such contribution has continued without any disruption, Thongma said. The flood disaster in 2011 led to losses and extra expenses to maintain buyers' confidence in its projects, the company consequently had to cut spending on other activities. Of course, the scholarship programme is an exception.
For this year, the number of scholarships was even raised from 410 to 446, many of the recipients being children of its customers, employees and students in schools located near its residential projects nationwide.
"We cannot say if these scholarships would bring a better future for the country. But for now, we know that they are given the opportunity to pursue education, on which they can build their future and become valuable manpower in the future," said Thongma.
Aside from education, the company's CSR is now geared towards its own customers, who deserve to live in good environment regardless of the age of the projects. Established in 1993, Pruksa has delivered over 120,000 residential units in over 100 projects to its customers.
In the mission to build sustainable community, Thongma said "The main objective is to support our customers to have the better community and better living."
Financial supports cannot exist all the time, and as such the company focuses on the way to help customers support themselves, by taking community development under their own hands. A "better living" centre was established recently where technicians are available for consultation on house repairs, which involve anything from water system and electricity system to sanitary system. Repairing services are available at reasonable prices, to ensure that customers can comfortably maintain their houses and the entire community in the long term after the company's home guarantee is expired.
"Our business philosophy is that with me or without me, Pruksa Real Estate must be a sustainable enterprise. CSR would be a mechanism to ensure sustainability," Thongma said.