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Seeing Pipestone Core Values in Action in Africa

Two Pipestone employees had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact that even a small contribution can make to children and families in the developing world.

Dr. Jay Bobb, veterinarian, and Jenna Hauglid, Pipestone Grow Finish, Nutrition Account Manager, traveled to Ethiopia in October 2017 to tour schools and other programs that benefited from a contribution from Pipestone to the Adams Thermal Foundation earlier this year.

Adams Thermal Foundation was established by the Adams Thermal Systems in Canton, South Dakota, in 2014 to support the company’s charitable and social programs in the U.S., Africa, and China.  In Africa, the foundation supports two schools in Southern Ethiopia and programs to improve water quality and help women achieve economic self-sufficiency.

“Our support of the Adams Thermal Foundation programs is consistent with our “Caring” core value and meets our priorities to support organizations that benefit children and increasing food security,” said Dr. Bobb.

As part of an event during the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) convention, a group of 32 individuals and organizations raised $32,000 for the AASV Foundation to support the Adams Thermal Foundation.  Pipestone matched the foundation’s donation. The donated funds were used to renovate and expand the Hosanna School, which serves about 580 students in grades Kindergarten through 11, with plans to add twelfth grade for the next school year. The renovation included the construction of 14 classrooms, the addition of modern restroom facilities and equipment and resources for student learning.

Hosanna is a city of about 76,000 people located about 115 miles southwest of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.  The Hosanna School serves the “poorest of the poor” in the city, many of whom are orphaned or HIV-positive.  Enrollment is done in coordination with the local government to identify students who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to attend school.  Students also receive health care and a meal program at Hosanna School.

Despite their challenging circumstances, Jenna noted the positive attitudes and clear focus of the students they met. “The students are incredibly confident and determined.  They know exactly what they want to accomplish in their life, whether it is a pilot, engineer, doctor or other career goals,” she said. “The education and other resources at the Hosanna School will provide them a way to reach their goals and move out of poverty.”

In addition to classrooms, the school features a large garden used to supplement the school meal program and as a learning lab for biology classes.  Children and families can learn about gardening practices that they can use in home gardens. Ottoro School is the second school supported by the Adams Thermal Foundation and is located in an impoverished rural village about 135 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.  The school serves 480 students in Kindergarten through 8th grades.  Students receive health screenings as well as tuition and uniforms. “We were able to visit classrooms and talk with students in the older grades who have learned English,” said Jenna.  “They are amazing kids who are very committed to their education, with many walking six to eight miles a day just to get to school.” She was inspired by the students and is planning to personally sponsor a student’s education through the foundation’s website in the future.

In addition to touring the schools, Dr. Bobb and Jenna also met with members of two women’s self-help program groups.  The women receive training on a variety of skills and earn money through the sale of weaving and other handmade items, then are able to put their earned money into savings accounts or invest in home or other projects.

Dr. Bobb recognizes that while there is progress being made, the students and families face many challenges.

“It puts a lot of things in perspective when you see children who don’t get meals every day, or to see families washing clothes or getting drinking water from standing water in ditches,” he said.

Donations from individuals or companies like Pipestone will provide the tools that students to get an education and help families emerge from poverty.

“It is an honor to work for a company with the commitment to caring for people not only where we live but around the world,” he said.  “It was a blessing to be able to see firsthand what an impact we were able to make.”

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