Help­ing Hands

Disadvantaged youth in Thai­land are ben­e­fit­ting un­der IWC Schaffhausen’s watch, Char­lene Co dis­cov­ers

Hong Kong Tatler - - | Style Watches -

IWC’S man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for South­east Asia, Matthieu Dupont, is wel­comed by Hos­pi­tal­ity & Cater­ing Train­ing Cen­tre stu­dents, who are mem­bers of the Karen eth­nic mi­nor­ity. Right: IWC Pi­lot’s Watch Dou­ble Chrono­graph Edi­tion “Le Petit Prince” t would be dif­fi­cult to find a spot more re­moved from the glitz, glam­our and ex­clu­siv­ity of the world of lux­ury watches than Mae Sot, a Thai trad­ing hub for gem­stones and teak on the bor­der with Myan­mar. Nev­er­the­less, that’s where IWC Schaffhausen’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for South­east Asia, Matthieu Dupont, ap­peared one fine day this past sum­mer.

The dis­trict around Mae Sot is home to a patch­work of eth­nic groups, in­clud­ing Karen hill tribes, and for decades the busy bor­der town has been a safe haven for thou­sands of Burmese refugees, most of whom also be­long to the Karen eth­nic mi­nor­ity. With jobs scarce for young Karen adults, the Hos­pi­tal­ity & Cater­ing Train­ing Cen­tre (HCTC) was es­tab­lished in 2008 to give them a brighter fu­ture through ed­u­ca­tion. It was to at­tend the in­au­gu­ra­tion of new fa­cil­i­ties at the cen­tre—a me­dia lab­o­ra­tory and gar­den—funded by IWC that Dupont trav­elled to Mae Sot.

“We’re proud that we can make a tan­gi­ble dif­fer­ence for these stu­dents here in Mae Sot,” Dupont said. “The new fa­cil­i­ties will con­trib­ute to the en­hance­ment of the ed­u­ca­tional pro­gramme at HCTC, un­der­lin­ing our sup­port for chil­dren and ado­les­cents fac­ing chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances, which is one of the cor­ner­stones of our cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gramme.”

IWC funded the pro­ject—a col­lab­o­ra­tion with a French char­ity, the An­toine de Sain­tex­upéry Youth Foun­da­tion—by auc­tion­ing off a Pi­lot’s Watch Dou­ble Chrono­graph Edi­tion “Le Petit Prince” in Novem­ber last year. The watch­maker is also spon­sor­ing tu­ition for 60 stu­dents.

The auc­tion was the third held by IWC to raise money for the work of its French part­ner. In April last year, an IWC Pi­lot’s Watch Chrono­graph Edi­tion “The Last Flight” in plat­inum was auc­tioned off, with the pro­ceeds used to build a new recre­ation area and li­brary at a chil­dren’s hospi­tal in Cu­ritiba, Brazil. The pre­vi­ous year, an IWC Big Pi­lot’s Watch Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar Edi­tion “Le Petit Prince,” also in plat­inum, was sold to help build two school build­ings and a li­brary in Roluos, Cam­bo­dia.

The An­toine de Saint-ex­upéry Youth Foun­da­tion, which is named af­ter a fa­mous French writer and pi­o­neer avi­a­tor, re­lies on the phi­lan­thropy of cor­po­ra­tions and pa­trons such as IWC Schaffhausen to re­alise its projects. The col­lab­o­ra­tion with IWC dates back to 2006. Of the lat­est pro­ject, Saint Ex­upéry Foun­da­tion pa­tron Hélène Pi­chon said: “The holis­tic ap­proach of nur­tur­ing both prac­ti­cal skills and char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment per­fectly re­flects the core val­ues of our foun­da­tion, and with strong part­ners like IWC, we are able to carry out our work.”

noble cause

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