Getting involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and implementing them in businesses is a great way to demonstrate commitment in giving back to the society. While a lot of companies are starting to be aware of growing needs and are slowly embracing CSR, charitable values have been engrained in Dato’ Dr Arunan Selvaraj ever since he was a child.
Throughout the years, humility and integrity are the core values he always strives to live up to, and he takes pride in helping as many people as he can. In a recent interview with CSR Malaysia, the Managing Partner of Rusmah Arunan & Associates shares his story on charity work, what CSR means to him and why is it so important to give back to the society.
Rusmah Arunan & Associates was founded and established by Managing Partner Dato’ Dr Arunan Selvaraj in 1995. Within the span of two decades, the firm expanded from a sole branch in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to 6 branches covering Klang Valley and Seremban. Dato’ Dr Arunan Selvaraj, a specialist in Matrimonial & Family Law, possesses 25 years of experience and expertise in the field. Over the years, the firm has been blessed abundantly. Apart from being a successful practicing lawyer, Dato’ Dr Arunan Selvaraj is firm believer in always helping the less fortunate. “I feel fulfilled knowing that something so small can be so meaningful to others. Helping others, no matter how small it may be, can definitely go a long way,” says Dr Arunan.
Over the years, he has been involved in many charitable efforts. Jom Botak was a fundraising project whereby volunteers, along with Dr Arunan, shaved their heads bald to show support for cancer patients. “We are together in the healing process and we wanted to show them they are not in this alone. We fully support those battling this terrible illness.” A music video was also made and the proceeds were donated to financially challenged patients. The team managed to not only reach their fundraising target, but doubled it. Dr Arunan also initiated Movember – The Ultimate Shave Off campaign which had fun- filled activities such as beard growing competitions that saw the participation of many local celebrities. The campaign was aimed at increasing awareness and encouraging more open and frequent conversation about prostate and testicular cancer that are not getting as much exposure compared to other forms of cancer. A music video titled ‘You Gotta Live!’ was also made for this project and an online video contest was also carried out to the theme of ‘Grow ‘Em, Wear ‘Em’.
Dr Arunan is clearly seen as a man of many talents and writing is one of them. His law practice prompted him to write and publish his first book entitled “Saving Your Marriage” to help married couples solve problems in a healthy manner. The book gives an insight on the difficulties couples face from time to time on the road of marriage and how to keep moving forward. The proceeds from the book sales went to the Malaysian Association for the Blind and National Cancer Council Malaysia. Dr Arunan also provides free counseling and consultation for couples going through tough times in their marriage. He is also an advocate for the prevention of domestic violence, recently teaming up with AWAM to produce a moving video that raised awareness about domestic violence. It is part of his ongoing effort to end violence against women and encourage them to be brave and speak up. “We want to give women the courage to come forward. Domestic violence is not easy to talk about but people need to be more open in discussing it. That way, we can help,” says Dr Arunan.
Despite the many CSR initiatives that Dr Arunan has carried out, there are still plans for more. From climbing mountains to being involved in many sporting activities, he is also an adventurer. In the coming month, he will be leading his team, Rainbow, to participate in the climb of Mount Kinabalu. “Rainbow works closely with various charity organizations to raise funds. We use adventures as a platform to create awareness and at the same time, raise money for charity,” says Dr Arunan. The Puncak Harapan project aims to raise funds for the mentally handicapped adults and children of The Selangor and Federal Territory Association for the Mentally Handicapped (SAMH), which is a charitable organization serving mentally challenged children and adults, ranging from the tender age of 5 to mature 50 year-olds . 4 students and 2 teachers from SAMH will also be joining the expedition. The team is more than happy to welcome volunteers to join in. Those interested can visit www.puncakharapan.com for more information.
When asked of the challenges he faces in sustaining these CSR efforts, Dr Arunan’s answer is simple. “Challenges are inevitable. I have a team of reliable people and they can get through almost anything. It’s just a matter of choosing the right people to work with.” Dr Arunan has been involved in a variety of charities over the years, from helping cancer patients to the mentally handicapped. “We play by ear. There is no specific method is choosing the type of activities we carry out. It is based on approach and time,” says Dr Arunan.
After 25 years of practicing law and meeting many different people from various backgrounds, his experiences shaped him into becoming the person he is today. Despite all the milestones his company has reached, the greatest achievement to Dr Arunan is being able to use his power to get involved in a lot of charity work. “One of the best feelings one can ever have is giving back to society. I’ve always believed in helping others and CSR initiatives are the paths we use to reach out to as many people as possible.” He always remembers his late father’s advice and the values he had instilled in him. Every year on his father’s death anniversary, Dr Arunan helps out a charity home of his late father’s choice in honour of him.