Every spring, we start raising funds for an initiative particularly close to our hearts: the Benin Summer School. This year, our software department challenged the company to raise the ambitious amount of 10,000€ - and even introduced some friendly competition in pitting Materialise headquarters against all our offices combined. So if we were going to be successful, it was clear that we couldn’t just stick to the traditional Run4Benin, the race we run each year to raise money for Benin.
Bednet is an organization which enables children with long-term or chronic illnesses to follow classes from the comfort of their own home. The patient’s friends and classmates can see them on a screen at the back of the class, and they can follow the lesson as if they were physically present. We donated 3D-printed parts for the Bednet mobile unit, which was nominated for the prestigious Henry van de Velde Life Quality Award last year!
You may have read about last year’s Silk Road initiative, where our Chinese office took a “Dream Bus” around the west of China to inspire and educate young children in remote areas about 3D Printing. This year, the saga continues as the Long March – the Dream Bus will start in Jinzhai and make its way to Dingxi across the south of China.
Every year two of our employees volunteer to head the Benin Summer School, a social initiative organized by Materialise and Belgian charity Hubi & Vinciane. This year Matthias Floru and Christoph Hamacher had the honor of handing over university scholarships to Loth Chabi, Moussibaou Babatounde and Narcisse Koudjangnihoue!
In April 2017, a young patient with serious cardiac deformity was the happy recipient of a successful heart surgery. His case was very complex and the surgery entailed high risks. What makes this surgery even more special however, is that it was one of the first to be performed under the patronage of Little Hearts of China. This charity project brings in selected young patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) from the western region of China and offers them advanced medical care that would otherwise not be available locally.
Every year Materialise organizes the Run4Benin – a company-wide 15km race along the fields surrounding the buildings of our headquarters. It’s a fundraiser organized to sponsor our Summer School in Benin – an initiative which enables local students with management potential to do a university degree and consequently stimulate entrepreneurship in Benin. This year our Medical department was in charge of the organization – and they decided to do things a little differently.
Started in 2012, the Benin Summer School is one of the social initiatives started up by Materialise. Located in Papané, Benin, the idea behind the program is to select the three best students of the region – and then support these students financially throughout their university studies. The goal is to stimulate the local economy by giving its brightest young citizens the tools to build up useful businesses that last. We work together with a local NGO, Hubi and Vinciane, who helps the two volunteers from Materialise work with the students for two weeks on a project they need to develop and present in order to get selected as part of the final three. Meet Jonas and Dorina, who volunteered to teach the summer school this year.
African Drive is an initiative that was founded three years ago by a group of Belgian entrepreneurs led by our CEO, Fried Vancraen. With the aim of creating a safe and dependable method of transportation for the inhabitants of Benin, African Drive’s affiliate, Baobab Express, started providing locals with a secure, low-cost way of getting from city to city.
Materialise China’s dream is to influence future perspectives of kids in remote areas through innovation. As of last year, our team has been working on the Silk Road project and, since the project kicked off in April in Xi’An, it was finally my turn to be a teacher on the Dream Bus. I got up at 4 am to leave from Shanghai to Huangzhong, a small county of 400,000 citizens, which is located in the Qinghai province of West China. I arrived and was warmly welcomed by the local education bureau, who picked me up at the airport and immediately took me for a delicious lunch where I met the Adream team and the other volunteers.
Born as an initiative from one of our colleagues at the Materialise China office, Tom Yan, the Silk Road project aims to spur innovation and development in the Western part of China. Together with Chinese charity organization, Adream, and TEACH, a company that provides courses on 3D Printing, Materialise organized a mobile Dream Bus, that will drive through Western China and stop in several locations to allow local children to learn about 3D Printing.