Continuing its commitment to corporate social responsibility – with an unmistakable dash of Karma joie de vivre – Karma Group recently held the 2016 Karma Penguin Walk, a 30-kilometre hike winding through the hills, fields, forests and beaches near the coast of St. Tropez in France. The Penguin Walk was enjoyed by 15 intrepid, committed Penguins and was led by the Emperor Penguin himself, John Spence, Karma Group founder and Chairman. John’s vision is for the Walk to be a fun, challenging and purposed-filled adventure, fully embracing the mission of improving the lives of the disadvantaged, especially in communities around the world where Karma Group operates.
“I take enormous personal satisfaction from these opportunities to help others. Embarking on the 2016 Karma Penguin Walk in the company of a wonderful group of high-achieving, socially responsible and like-minded individuals, I felt extremely privileged to have the chance to directly chart a new course for a group of young students on the College & Careers scholarship program run by Christel House in India,” said John Spence. “Through my work, I regularly encounter disadvantaged communities facing enormous challenges and projects such as the Karma Penguin Walk give us the opportunity to raise awareness, as well as contribute valuable funds to directly help alleviate some of the pressures faced by these young people.”
The Penguin Walk began at 5:30am at Le Preverger, Karma Estates’ legendary chateau, with the waddling adventurers criss-crossing the French countryside with great purpose and determination. 8 year-old Columbus Spence showed the true Karma spirit by cheerfully completing the entire course with steadfastness reminiscent of a young Marco Polo and Christel House was represented by Mrs. Anna Gilchrist, who completed the Walk in grand style. The Walk was not without peril with the Penguins encountering and overcoming a number of obstacles, such as magnificent scenery, tempting diversions such as restaurants and cafés and oncoming lorries. The first pit-stop at La Petite Cantina bolstered the Penguins’ resolve before the second break at Chateau Saint Maur for a wine tasting. By half past one in the afternoon, all of the Penguins had completed the route and triumphantly reached the final destination of Auberge de la Mole, where they enjoyed a well-earned luncheon and the satisfying news that the 2016 Penguin Walk had successfully raised £10,000 to send four young scholars of India’s Christel House to University. As a gesture of thanks, the kids of Christel House sent a card and a painting to John and Nanette Spence, which was warmly received.
Christel House, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Bangalore, India, helps children and youth from underprivileged backgrounds overcome the cycle of poverty through education. In 2011, Christel House established its College & Careers program, whereby scholarships are provided for students to pursue university or college professional degrees in order to be fully employed upon graduation.
At Christel House, via its charity foundation Karma Camino, Karma Group has sponsored the construction and initial establishment of its school library, including stocking its shelves with children’s books, and provides all the meals for over 900 children (To date, the group has provided and paid for in excess of 4.5 million meals.) The Karma Camino foundation also organizes an annual “Camp Royal” excursion, whereby children from Christel House are invited to stay for a few days’ holiday at Karma Group’s resorts in Goa and entertained by resort staff volunteers – a treat which most of these children, who have never known what it is like to go on vacation, are experiencing for the first time.
In addition, Karma Group has raised over a million US dollars over the past two years for various charities, through the auctioning off of villa and hotel accommodations.