Despite the rising prosperity of Southeast Asian nations and the growing spending power of the middle classes, there remains a significant wealth gap that affects the most vulnerable members of our society. In the shadows of some of Bangkok’s most exclusive condominium developments and commercially thriving skyscrapers, many children are forced to beg on the streets to support their impoverished families. In some cases, these children begin begging when school finishes and continue late into the night, meaning that they never get sufficient sleep and never any time to play and be children. In the more extreme cases, these children are forced to drop out of school altogether and are denied the chance of an education that could offer them hope of a better life, both for the children themselves and their families.
As a socially responsible member of wider society in general and the communities in which we operate in particular, First Class Foundations is committed to making a meaningful contribution to a fairer, more just and more equitable society for all. To this end, we have launched the First Class Foundation as a tool for fostering good in society. To support the education of the poorest and most underprivileged children in Bangkok, First Class Corporations will be donating approximately 5% of all revenues to the Foundation.
It is estimated that the process of establishing the First Class Foundation could take up to one year. The www.firstclassfoundation.com web domain has already been acquired, while we are currently approaching major accounting firms and some of the largest professional services networks in the world to support the process of having the Foundation officially certified. In the meantime, we will continue working with local police stations across Bangkok to help us identify the children most eligible for and in need of the support that we are able to offer them. The project is restricted to government schools, which will also receive financial assistance from the Foundation.
Once the Foundation is operational, we will create an app and online support system that will enable teachers to easily record the attendance of the children we sponsor and provide us with attendance reports. As long as the children continue to attend school, we will continue to provide financial assistance to their parents so that their children do not need to beg and they can go to school instead. However, if the children are found to be absent for 2 or more days at a time, the cause of the absence will be established and if no valid reason is found for the absence, the funding will be discontinued, either temporarily or on a permanent basis, depending on the circumstances of the case.
After the project has been successfully launched in Bangkok, we will expand this project globally into all of the communities in which we operate. Every city where a First Class subsidiary or franchise partner has been established will have its own localized First Class Foundation branch, where we aim to coordinate the activities of the First Class Foundation with international and local companies.