“Sign for my future” is among Belgium’s biggest and fastest growing initiatives to address climate change, collecting over 100,000 signatures within its first week. This citizen-led initiative aims to collect as many signatures as possible via its website in support of a clear mandate and a more ambitious climate policy for Belgium.
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!
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.
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.
In early August, I reached Benin with my partner Lotte, Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen and Executive Vice President Hilde Ingelaere. The goal for the next month was to conduct a summer school at the hospital in Papané, with 17 students—the best performers from four high schools in the region—and guide them through the developmental projects they had chosen to work on. At the end of three weeks, three students would be chosen to receive a scholarship to aid their further education. Looking back at my notes over the following month, I think we had as much to learn as the students did.
Late every summer at Materialise, there comes a day when professionally dressed people suddenly transform into runners in full gear. That’s when you know it’s the day to Run4Benin. The race, which takes a route through in the green fields around Materialise HQ, raises funds to co-organize a summer school in the small West African country Benin. It also gets people off their office chairs and into their running shoes, which is great.
Run for Benin is a yearly Materialise event to collect money for Benin, a country in West Africa. The run is hosted annually at Materialise HQ, but this year Materialise Malaysia also took part in hosting a run to help with the fundraising.
It was hard to believe that our time in Benin was already coming to an end. You could feel that the “heat was on” as every student worked on their computers every minute that was possible. They all clearly were dedicated to their projects and hoped they would be selected for one of the three available scholarships.