“In the current climate supporting corporate social responsibility projects can be a challenge for SME’s, but with a collective will and a strong philosophy to give back to the community where we all live and work, the benefits to both parties far outweigh any costs,” stated Greg Caramanica, Quantum’s Associate Director as part of his opening address, along with Sarah Champa Al Dafa, Maktaba Children’s Library Founder at the recent American Chamber monthly ‘Distinguished Speakers’ event.
Quantum and Maktaba Children’s Library, a non-profit organisation, have been partners since 2015 and as highlighted by Sarah in her presentation many activities have been undertaken during this period. These included the development of a children’s fruit and vegetable garden, the launch of an annual Garangou festival, ad-hoc maintenance issues, fire alarm installation and a variety of story time sessions with leading British children’s author, Kay Woodward.
Greg and Sarah’s presentation also discussed Quantum’s three-phase approach to working with Maktaba including hands-on support including the company’s annual ‘Donate a Day’ initiative and financial and communication support. The team also noted how they worked with additional third parties through their business networks who were happy to assist Maktaba with lower rates structures and payment terms – they just needed to be asked.
‘’There is a misconception in the community that non-government charities like Maktaba are sponsored financially long-term by major organisations – this is not the case at Maktaba. While we welcome major organisations to partner with us to develop major initiatives for the benefit of the community, at Maktaba we value each and every one of our supporters including one-man organisations and SME’s who often find, like Quantum, their employee engagement is increased through a more personal approach to helping the community,’’ said Sarah.
In concluding the presentation Greg called the assembled attendees to action by stating, “As an SME we value our partnership with Maktaba. However, this is a library and as you know, a library needs lots of different materials to survive. Maktaba needs more sponsors. Quantum don’t believe in sole sponsorships or exclusivity in our CSR partnerships. It is all about working as a team. We all have children and how many of you would love to see them reading a book rather than an Ipad, computer or phone. Why don’t you start your own story with Maktaba and we can develop this amazing library together so all children get the opportunity to get back to reading books and be part of this amazing multi-cultural community.’’
Quantum’s Q-munity CSR programme, started in 2013 is aligned to the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-16. The programme aims to actively add long-term value within the community by interacting with local organisation and supporting health, sport, community and educational initiatives.
Maktaba Children’s Library (Facebook: Maktaba Qatar, www.maktabaqatar.org) is one of the first children’s libraries in Qatar. The library is open to the public and welcomes children of all ages – from toddlers to teenagers – with a range of storytime sessions, research facilities and a book lending service. The library is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation funded through membership, partnerships and grants.