Group Companies to unite in “Passing the Pillow” amongst 30,000-strong workforce and communities
The Hayleys Group displayed its commitment to help the nation combat the spread of HIV/AIDS by becoming the latest entity to join the “Passing the Pillow” programme launched by the Lanka Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS (LBCH).
In pledging renewed efforts to take forward the fight against the increasingly alarming spread of the disease, Chairman and Chief Executive Mohan Pandithage accepted the red pillow, a symbol of continued commitment, from Dr. Kishu Gomes, Chairman of LBCH.
Hayleys joined the LBCH Steering Committee in 2010, and has since then focused on awareness creation amongst its workforce, supply chain and communities within which it operates. “Hayleys first introduced the topic to its Sector Heads and senior managers at a knowledge sharing forum, and since inception we have taken steps to drive awareness creation at all levels,” said Pandithage. “As a Group comprising of 30,000 employees, with operations in diverse localities and industries, it is time to ‘pass the pillow’ to all our sectors of enterprise.”
Roots of the Group’s initiative go back to 2005, when the conglomerate’s hand protection company Dipped Products PLC (DPL) successfully implemented a project funded by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to increase awareness within its several manufacturing locations. Selected peer educators who represented a cross section of employee categories were trained on HIV/AIDS by master trainers provided by ILO and LBCH. These efforts culminated in DPL becoming one of the first manufacturing companies to develop and implement its own HIV/AIDS policy. The rubber glove manufacturer also spread the message to its supply chain and communities through its on-going Firstlight Foundation – a programme that addresses wide-ranging issues impacting the lives of rubber smallholders.
“I would like to acknowledge the foresight and commitment of Dipped Products which was instrumental in laying the foundation for a culture that fosters frank and enlightened discussion on the topic. From this foundation, Hayleys has commemorated World AIDS Day in all operating locations and has raised awareness within and outside the workplace,” added Pandithage.
The ‘Passing the Pillow’ campaign was launched earlier in 2012 in an effort to highlight the importance of awareness. A bright red cushion inscribed with the message ‘Pass on Awareness, not HIV’ is passed amongst over 60 LBCH member corporates, which include leading banks and conglomerates in the island.
The goal of LBCH is to leverage the business community to make a committed response to mitigate the threat of HIV and AIDS in the workplace and community. It provides a platform from which policies and awareness programmes can be coordinated and executed efficiently by pooling resources and knowledge that exist within the business community. LBCH works with its members to ensure that each of the organisations has an HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy in place, and provides on-going customised awareness programmes. Professional trainers conduct these programmes at no cost to member organisations.