By Ashish Shastry Nov 01, 2021
Throughout much of the pandemic, the countries of Southeast Asia won praise for overall effective management of COVID-19 outbreaks. However, in recent months, Southeast Asians have faced some of the harshest days of the pandemic.
All of us at KKR have watched the escalation of the virus in this region with concern and sadness. The Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore are more than just places where we do business: these countries are our homes, where KKR’s employees, their friends and families, as well as the thousands of employees who work at our portfolio companies live.
Our Southeast Asia team at KKR want to be part of the solution to reduce suffering and bring relief to the communities where we live, work and invest in the region.
As part of a dedicated APAC strategy, our team has been working to help channel funds from KKR’s COVID Relief Fund, fellow colleagues (matched in most cases by KKR’s matching program) and some of our portfolio companies to make a series of donations to COVID-19 relief efforts across Southeast Asia.So far, we have channeled our joint donations to the following causes:
- Indonesia: Driven by our team leader Devid Kennedy, we contributed to an effort backed by our portfolio company GoTo and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) to build field hospitals to deliver oxygen to COVID-19 patients. This effort is a collaboration between GoTo, KADIN, Samator, Halodoc, and Master Steel, and will benefit Indonesia as the country deals with an overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases. We also supported Oxygen for Indonesia’s efforts as Southeast Asia’s most populous nation continues to deal with an oxygen supply shortage in its fight against COVID-19.
- Vietnam: Our colleague CK Yan also led an effort to donate via Vingroup’s Kind Heart Foundation, which will go into funding over 65,000 medical-grade 3M N95 masks, which have been provided to Vietnam’s Ministry of Health for use in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
- Philippines: Alongside our team leader Michael de Guzman, we worked with the Philippine Business for Social Progress to employ more than 100 Filipinos to produce 220,000 reusable face masks that will benefit more than 22,000 families in the Philippines, and supporting the construction of at least 14 handwashing hygiene stations in underserved locations, all to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Malaysia: Soon Jin Lim also helped us to identify an opportunity to support Mercy Malaysia’s response plan for the country, including expanding healthcare facilities and operational aid, supporting the National COVID-19 Immunization Program (NCIP), distributing essential supplies, providing mental and wellness support to frontline workers, educators and students, as well as investing in risk communication and community engagement.
- Thailand: Our colleague CK Yan organized for KKR to contribute to Give2Asia’s Thailand COVID-19 relief effort, which partners with local non-profit organizations to support frontline healthcare workers and institutions on immediate needs and long-term recovery efforts. Some of Give2Asia’s Thai partners include The Life Skill Development Foundation, Baan Dek Foundation, Raks Thai Foundation, and the iCare Thailand Foundation.
- Singapore: While Singapore’s COVID-19 measures are aided by a high vaccination of over 80%, we looked to contribute to efforts that would provide further assistance to the marginalized. Coordinated by David Katz, who also guides KKR’s regional effort, we supported initiatives by Engineering Good and Generation: You Employed.
On behalf of all of us at KKR Southeast Asia, we would like to thank our partners, portfolio companies and investors who have joined us to support these organizations together – in addition to each of our colleagues who drove this initiative to help provide relief to our communities in each location. Based on Southeast Asia’s track record of resilience, we are confident that the region will recover from this pandemic, stronger than ever.