Elizabeth Boorman June 17, 2014

Materialise’s mission is to “create a better and healthier world”. While its mission can be seen in such ways as 3D Printing surgical guides and customized hearing aids, it can also be seen in other ways such as supporting projects in Benin. After Materialise participated in the RP 4 Bagdad, Materialise began looking for other projects to support.

They soon came into contact with CFO, a corporate funding program that connects NGO’s with companies, and soon Materialise became familiar with Hubi and Vinciane in Benin. After Executive Vice President Hilde Ingelaere and General Manager of the Malaysian office Wim Michiels went to Benin in 2011, they were convinced that the foundation was a good organization to support.

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This partnership with Hubi and Vinciane took off shortly after, leading to Materialise to provide IT equipment into local schools, and soon Materialise started sponsoring a summer school and scholarship foundation. It was also Materialise’s CEO Fried Vancraen who started the African Drive. Its first project, called the Baobab Express, is already up and driving around Benin - but that’s a story for another day.

In 2010, Materialise started an annual month-long summer school where 16 students work on various projects and are guided by selected Materialise employee(s). Three well-rounded, exceptional students (one from medical, one from engineering, and one from economics) from the summer school are selected to receive college scholarships. Materialise sponsors their college education with the idea that they would then go on to become local leaders within Benin. Two Materialise employees, Jamie Milas (US office) and Karim Chellaoui (Belgian office) went to Benin last year. Hear all about their experiences there and learn more about this fantastic program in the following video:
 


This was all possible through Materialise’s partnership with Hubi and Vinciane.  

Supporting Projects in Benin

Since 2011, Materialise has started supporting different programs in various sectors, including healthcare, education and agriculture. Materialise’s employees raise money for these initiatives in a number of ways, one of which is an annual run at Materialise’s headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. This year’s run took place last Friday, June 13th.

Before the run, people could already start donating and buying tombola tickets.
Before the run, people could already start donating and buying tombola tickets.

Over 50 runners (and walkers) came back to Headquarters to find a BBQ, games, live music and vendors all raising some extra money for the good cause. We are still counting exactly how much money we raised this year.  

The runner who raised the most money received a 3D-printed souvenir.
The runner who raised the most money received a 3D-printed souvenir printed by our friends at Twikit.
Materialise's employees sold small items and played games to raise money.
Materialise's employees sold small items and played games to raise money.
Even some employees played music during the BBQ!
Even some employees played music during the BBQ!

Employees at Materialise’s UK office also got in on the action, travelling 42 miles between them to raise money for these initiatives:

Check out more photos from the day on our Facebook page.

To learn more about Materialise’s social engagement, click here.