Inspired by the idea behind World Smile Day, which has been celebrated on the first Friday of each October since 1999, Tokio Marine Life Insurance Malaysia Bhd (Tokio Marine) visited Yayasan Sunbeams Home a week earlier with the aim of spreading some cheer to the children there.
Twenty staff from Tokio Marine took part in the Saturday (Sept 28, 2019) event where a mural painting session to beautify an old wall outside the children’s bedroom, together with an art workshop to teach the little ones some handicraft work were the highlights scheduled.
The event culminated in 100 items produced by the children in the workshop — gorgeous mugs in every colour imaginable and sturdy recyclable bags — being sold off to raise RM3,000 for Yayasan Sunbeams Home, a non-governmental multi-racial foundation that was set up in 1995 and is now home to 132 displaced, abused and neglected children of single-parents.
On top of that, Tokio Marine also donated essential items to the home.
“I am happy and humbled to see our staff volunteering to spend their time with the children today to spread a bit of cheer and colour to help put those happy smiles on their faces. A smile may be fleeting, but the moment is precious for the gladness it fills one’s heart with,” said Mr. Yoshiaki Okabe, Deputy CEO of Tokio Marine.
“A day like today reminds us and reinforces our commitment to look beyond profit, and to act with integrity not just for the benefit of our customers and business partners but also society. I am glad we have inspired such passion in our people to look beyond ourselves to those around us, and to lend a helping hand wherever and whenever we can,” he added.
Mr. Alvin Tan Ooi Seng, Founder of Yayasan Sunbeams Home, who received the donated items and cash raised on the home’s behalf, said: “As someone once said, ‘when you are kind to others, it changes not only you, it changes the world’. So, thank you for coming today and for having the children in mind in all the things you did.”
The person behind World Smile Day is the late Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from the United States who created the smiley face in 1963. While the image has become the most recognisable symbol of goodwill and cheer in the world, Ball was concerned with the over-commercialisation of his symbol and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition of the marketplace. To counter that, Ball thought everyone should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts, and went on to declare the first Friday of October each year as World Smile Day.
Ball passed away in 2001, but his World Smile Day has continued to live on since it was first observed in 1999, and inspire many.