Ten months ago, BHP launched the US$2 million Partnerships for Resilience in Asia Fund (PRAF) with the goal of contributing towards COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts throughout Asia. We extended assistance to countries where our offices are located: China, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
PRAF was among a number of other Funds that were set up to support our commitment to the collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, we also set up two funds to help communities respond to COVID – the Vital Resources Fund in Australia and Vamos Juntos in Chile.
Chief Commercial Officer Vandita Pant says, ‘through our collaboration with numerous organisations in Asia, we helped mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on the most vulnerable, making sure no one is left behind. We are also helping in long-term recovery efforts from COVID-19 by sharing knowledge and best practice throughout the region.’
‘Our fund has touched the lives of a wide range beneficiaries in Asia, from healthcare workers to the elderly, children, migrant workers, single mothers, people with disabilities, and women at risk, helping them deal with the impact of COVID on their lives. PRAF presents us an opportunity to contribute to regional, national and local relief and recovery efforts in Asia, where our employees and customers are based, consistent with our commitment to the creation of social value for our stakeholders and communities. In the immediate term, the Fund will further support efforts that augment healthcare capacity, help the most disadvantaged in society, and facilitate access to mental health services. PRAF will also focus on the challenges in the medium term, as governments and communities turn their attention to economic recovery, she added.
Since PRAF was launched, BHP has supported a wide range of projects for communities across Asia including:
- ‘Akai Hane’ - assistance for food, shelter and education for adults and children impacted by the pandemic. We provided food banks for our beneficiaries, helped distribute meals to children in need, and provided care for children with disabilities.
- Peace Winds Japan - support for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers.
- Asha Community Health and Development Society - support for COVID prevention activities in slum areas in the capital city of Delhi. The Asha team along with dedicated ‘Corona warriors’ visited homes to spread COVID awareness and to inculcate behavioural change among the urban poor in chosen project locations.
- Earth Saviours Foundation - helped provide food and toiletries for the elderly and disabled in the state of Haryana.
- LV Prasad Eye Institute - supported the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and patients undergoing surgical services. The institute provides free surgeries for the poor in the state of Hyderabad.
- Sarthank Prayash - helped provide education and health care for the poor living near Delhi and in remote hilly areas.
- Kembara Kitchen - provided assistance for the poor, hungry and marginalised in both Peninsular and East Malaysia.
- MERCY Malaysia - supported the procurement of swab tests for vulnerable groups in the state of Sabah, which has been a COVID-19 hotspot.
- National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) - helped set up mobile cancer screenings and awareness programs throughout the country. NCSM enhanced its services during Malaysia’s movement control order and we helped the organisation deliver this crucial function, even during the lockdown.
- Teach for the Philippines - helped purchase swab tests and PPE and provided access to mobile devices for teachers in remote areas, which facilitated online learning.
- Bikes for the Philippines - supported the purchase of bicycles for frontline workers, providing them with a means of transportation during lockdowns when there were few options available.
- Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. (COSE) - supported the procurement of rice, milk, oatmeal, sugar, coffee, vitamins and face masks for elderly persons in the province of Quezon.
- Project Dignity - contributed towards the building of two training rooms which provided local fare culinary courses to the public as well as training programs for adults with special needs seeking employment.
- Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) - helped foreign domestic workers who needed urgent financial relief access alternative housing arrangements, temporary shelter and travel expenses during COVID-19.
- Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) - assisted single mothers affected by COVID.
- Seafarers Happiness Index - supported seafarers on BHP chartered vessels to complete a survey that would enable BHP to understand the level of their wellbeing, helping ensure that vessel owners have controls in place to support those seafarers.
- Sunlove/Bike-Aid - supported households with monthly rations and provided school-going children with their monthly breakfast packages for one year.
- Willing Hearts - helped provide daily meals for migrant workers living in dormitories, including those in quarantine or lockdown.
- Singapore Children’s Cancer Fund - provided medical assistance, transportation, education and emergency cash support for childhood cancer transplants.
- TOUCH Community Services - supported the distribution of hand sanitizers as COVID protection for seniors living in senior centres. The fund was also used to purchase mosquito repellants to protect seniors against dengue, due to an outbreak in 2020.
- AWWA - helped provide personal home-based care program for seniors, including meals and in-home help, which was especially important during the pandemic.
In addition to our region-wide assistance, we also facilitated long-term recovery efforts in the region. In March 2021, we partnered with the Centre for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD) - a leading think tank in China, to launch the ‘Resilient Asia Network’ project. Our partnership aims to build more resilient socio-economic systems and to share COVID-19 best practices and knowledge among think tanks, universities and international organisations in the region.
BHP also donated US$1.4 million to the Red Cross Foundation in China to support their initial COVID response when the pandemic began. More recently, BHP Foundation contributed US$2 million to the Indian Red Cross Society, given their second wave crisis. This donation will help secure and deliver critical medical supplies and services, including the distribution of oxygen concentrators and cylinders, vaccination programs and hygiene materials, to those most-at-risk.
Read more about our response to Covid-19 around the world.