In its collaboration with Diveheart Malaysia, RHB Banking Group (through its subsidiary RHB Islamic Bank Bhd) has stepped up its sustainability efforts with an initiative to empower the special needs community. This initiative took place on 3 December 2022, in conjunction with International Persons with Disability Day, said the banking group in a press release.
Diveheart Malaysia is part of the US-based non-profit organization Diveheart in Chicago, which focuses on helping disabled persons become certified divers through the adaptive diving techniques specialty training of the Professional Association Diving Instructors (PADI).
RHB Banking Group’s managing director and chief executive officer, Mohd Rashid Mohamad, said the bank was the first banking group in Asia with its own team of employees who are qualified PADI Adaptive Techniques support divers.
“Through this collaboration, eight of RHB’s PADI advanced certified divers, which includes senior management team (members), have volunteered to be trained and certified by Diveheart Malaysia Ambassador Syed Abd Rahman as adaptive buddy support divers,” he said.
A joint commitment
A spokesman for Diveheart said: “Diveheart is delighted to collaborate with RHB Bank as the first bank in Asia to have a qualified Diveheart adaptive buddy team. Through this, RHB divers are also able to assist persons with disabilities for water therapy—for them to feel zero gravity underwater.
“This great initiative truly reflects the joint commitment in reinforcing RHB’s ongoing efforts to support and care for society by fostering inclusivity amongst Malaysians,” he added.
The initiative was made possible by a Diveheart partnership with the University Malaya Medical Center UMMC, Tourism Malaysia Langkawi, Scuba Club Langkawi SCL, Langkawi Autism Center LAC and the Diveheart team in the Northern Region of Malaysia.
Inclusivity, ocean conservation and financial literacy
On behalf of RHB Bank, Diveheart Ambassador Malaysia Rahman said: “This underlines our additional commitment towards championing inclusivity in support of UN SDG 10 ‘Reduced Inequalities,’ alongside amplifying our main thrust of UN SDG 14 ‘Life Below Water,’ where we continuously emphasize ocean conservation and preservation.
“In addition to this, we continue to reinforce financial literacy among the younger generation in Pulau Langkawi through a comprehensive ocean-themed Children’s Financial Literacy Workshop, which combines the importance of marine conservation and financial well-being,” he said.
Since the establishment of RHB Ocean Harmony in 2019, a part of RHB Banking Group’s larger sustainability initiative, RHB Islamic Bank has actively promoted environmental sustainability and marine conservation. In a first for the Asia Pacific region, one of the ocean-themed initiatives under Ocean Harmony includes the issue of eco-friendly recycled plastic debit cards, in partnership with WWF-Malaysia.
For more information, please contact Hj. Syed Abd Rahman, Director, Scuba Educator, PADI IDC Staff Instructor, Advisor to the National Dive Council Malaysia, Chairman of Accessible Tourism Standards Malaysia, and Ambassador for Diveheart Malaysia, at KIDS SCUBA (a PADI 5-Star Dive Center, recipient of the PADI Youth Diver Education Award and PADI Outstanding Contribution to Diving Industry Award). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit: kidsscuba.com.