To support students in poorer agricultural regions, Cargill establishes a program that improves facilities and provides access to quality education.
In the mid-1990s, a school for children with disabilities in Vietnam, Trung Tarn Giao Due Tre Khuyet, needed new equipment. Because the school was located in an impoverished neighborhood in Ho Chi Minh City, its community lacked the resources to provide assistance—until Cargill stepped in.
The company had recently opened offices in the country and saw an opportunity to help provide for local students. In 1996, Cargill employees raised money to build a playground for the school. The following year, the company raised enough money to add rooms to a school in the Thong Nhat District, which was struggling to provide students with space to learn.
Over time, providing educational access to low-income students in rural Vietnam, located near customers of Cargill’s animal nutrition business, became a regular practice. The company assembled a Cargill Cares Council, an employee-led group that serves local communities, to work with local architects, apply for licenses and manage the construction of Cargill’s schools across Vietnam.
Various Vietnamese newspapers noted the positive community impact, and the US Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City nominated Cargill Vietnam for its Best Company in Vietnam Award, an honor focused on corporate citizenship and community enrichment. Additionally, the government has taken Cargill’s school building design and made it the official government model for all rural primary schools.
Today, Cargill’s school building program plays a vital role in supporting agricultural communities across Vietnam, and the world. Since 1995, it has raised more than US $3.8 million and is on track to inaugurate its 75th school in late 2015. These facilities will have capacity to educate approximately 15,000 students each year in Vietnam alone. The next goal is to complete 100 schools by 2020.
“Cargill Cares Schools demonstrates our pledge to investing in the education of these rural children who are the key to the future,” said Chanh Truong, head of Cargill Vietnam. “Our main objective is to help poor kids in the remote countryside access education. We will continue to work with Cargill employees and Cargill Cares Councils to implement our educational initiatives in rural Vietnam.”