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Celebrating Social Engagement

2011: Volume 3, Article 1

During IBM's year long Celebration of Service, part of the company's centennial activities, IBM volunteers in unprecedented numbers are making history by sharing their time, skills and expertise at schools and community organizations worldwide.

On June 15, 2011, the IBM Celebration of Service Day, IBM employees came together to volunteer their time and expertise to make a difference in communities around the globe. Their volunteer projects were as diverse as the volunteers themselves, and their impacts were significant.

Meet several of the many IBMers, including IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano (in photo), who have contributed their time.

Sam Palmisano, USA: Back to the beginning

Picture of Sam

The IBM chairman decided to spend June 15 in his home town of Baltimore, Maryland, US. It was here, in 1973, he joined IBM, starting as a salesman. On June 15, 2011, Sam, with Baltimore's mayor and chief of schools, joined about 100 middle-school students at Digital Harbor High School in south Baltimore, to educate students on the many uses of digital technology.

Arindam Bhattacharyya, India: Advancing computer literacy

Picture of Arindam

Arindam Bhattacharyya (in the center of the photo) took a leave of absence from his job as a technical solution manager for IBM in Kolkata, to teach in the remote Himalayan region of Ladakh. He came back resolved to help connect young people in Kolkata with the skills and passion of his IBM peers.

Carolina Ferreira, Brazil: Giving patience, love and strength

Picture of Carolina

Three years ago Carol Ferreira (in photo, far right) was unsure what it took to be a volunteer, but after joining a service team in its project with a Brazilian AIDS center, she felt the joy of helping others. Today Carol continues as a volunteer at the Corsini Center in Campinas, Brazil helping them care for AIDS patients.

Cao Nan, China: Mentoring gifted students

Picture of Cao

Cao, and hundreds of Beijing IBMers, will be volunteering on a year-long mission to mentor academically gifted students from the city's Hongzhi Middle School, which recruits students from poor families who typically have little knowledge of career options. Drawing on individual technical backgrounds and personal interests, mentors will meet with students, aged 17-18, on a weekly basis to discuss career aspirations and enhance their knowledge of options available. They'll also help prepare students for China's National College Entrance Examination.

Rina Jayani Rahmadi, Indonesia: Breaking the sound of silence

Picture of Rina

Rina Jayani Rahmadi (in photo, speaking with group, bottom left), a mother of three and an IBM sales operations professional in Jakarta, Indonesia, started Indonesia Hear Foundation to help a growing group of about 100 parents whose children are hearing impaired. For Rina, though, it all started with helping just one little boy.

Alicia Huby, Brenda Cavero and Giancarlo Vial Del Pozo, Peru: Weekend work changes lives

Picture of Alicia

Three IBM Peru volunteers - Alicia Huby (in photo), Brenda Cavero and Giancarlo Vial Del Pozo- have been dedicating whole weekends over the past two years to help children affected by family and social violence, malnutrition and other adverse circumstances.

Country Highlights


Asia Pacific

  • Shanghai, China - IBM volunteers helped mentally challenged people with exercising, playing games and discussing personal security and safety.
  • Hong Kong, China - 140 IBM volunteers worked with over 370 senior citizens in a retirement center on the use of computers and the Internet.
  • Mumbai, India - IBM volunteers worked with a non-profit organization and schools on the importance of technology in the classroom. Demonstrations on the use of KidSmart were also given to help further expand educational opportunities for children across the country.
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka - IBM volunteers worked with school children on the importance of protecting our environment, ecology & planet, as well as how they could contribute towards protecting natural resources.
  • Quang Tri, Vietnam - IBM volunteers setup a lab for Reading Companion to help training staff from one of the nation's associations for blind people. This was the first event in a project planned to run for the next year, specifically aimed at making Reading Companion user friendly to visual impaired individual.


  • Galway, Ireland - IBM hosted a training day for IBM employees to work with Samaritans in future schools projects that will engage students on a website development project aimed at helping young people at risk of depression and suicide.
  • Turkey - IBM hosted a volunteer marketplace representing different fields in Turkey in the IBM office. In the morning they had an influencer event with IBM Presidents, Vice Presidents, and General Managers - as well as their Country General Manager. Fifty distinguished guests attending the event were inspired by the messages brought forth and the discussions about community service.

Latin America

  • IBM Brazil hosted the "Technosoup Jam: Innovation in a connected world," a virtual discussion about technology with non-profits and governmental organizations. Elly Keinan, RGM Latin America, and Ricardo Pelegrini, CGM Brazil, were special guests.
  • IBM Chile hosted the "Therapy with Robots for Children with Cancer" event, coordinated with Fundacin Nuestros Hijos.
  • IBM Argentina hosted "Building a Smarter and Sustainable Planet," an environmental care activity, in a joint effort with the Habitat Foundation and San Isidro's Municipality.
  • In Uruguay IBMers, partnering with NGO Projoven through the National Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, mentored young Uruguayans from impoverished neighborhoods to help them find their first jobs.
  • Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - IBM volunteers engaged with a nonprofit school/health care clinic in an impoverished neighborhood to redesign the organization's website with the aim of increasing its effectiveness for education and fund-raising.

United States

  • Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States - IBM volunteers constructed a state of the art green classroom and the Farm Life Center. Volunteers also completed farm chores, including painting, planting shrubs and trees and erecting a wooden fence.

Celebration of Service Day: June 15, 2011

IBM 100


  • 300,000+ participants in 120 countries
  • 5,000+ organized volunteer activities
  • 1,500 photos uploaded to
  • 800+ stories in news media worldwide
  • Social media: 1,300+ #IBM interactions, 500+ #CoS

"This one day of service by IBMers dwarfs the efforts of every other company on the planet. In fact, no other company or collection of companies even comes close. And the greatest measure is not what how much time IBMers gave, but what they accomplished." - Stan Litow

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