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Employees in Thailand clean a beach in Map Tha Phut.
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With approximately 33,000 employees working on every continent, Evonik Industries AG is at home all over the world. And wherever we operate, we are actively engaged in outreach initiatives. We want to promote trust in our company, so our employees get involved when help is needed, just as a good neighbors should do. Sometimes financial assistance is required, but very often it’s direct personal involvement that makes the difference. One example can be found in Map Tha Phut, Thailand, where Evonik employees regularly clean up the beach, bringing along trash bags and an upbeat spirit.
"We usually form a group of 30 to 40 colleagues, and we walk along the local beaches picking up what doesn’t belong here," says Dr. Florian Kirschner, Country Head Thailand. "You wouldn’t believe the things we find." In other parts of Thailand, the beaches are cleaned up by service crews hired by hotel chains. But the town of Map Tha Phut, which is home to a chemical park, is located far from the tourist beaches, so companies based in the town do the cleaning up. Helping out is a point of honor for Evonik.
Reza Setiawan’s parents hardly dared to hope that their son would study at a university one day—but that was exactly this young Indonesian’s dream. Last year Setiawan, who is now 23, completed his mechanical engineering degree at the Indonesia University of Education in Bandung, the provincial capital. In fact, he graduated at the top of his class. And he needed only four years to complete the program, instead of the usual four and a half.
Setiawan already had the makings of an academic high flyer at an early age, but the financial means were lacking. "My parents are simple rice farmers, and we are four siblings at home," he says. "We would never have been able to afford my university education." Setiawan’s parents earn about 500,000 Indonesian rupees per month, the equivalent of just under €40. "A month at the university costs at least 850,000 rupiah," he adds.
However, this rangy young man with spectacles was lucky. He was the first recipient of a university scholarship donated by Evonik in Cikarang. Here Evonik Industries produces hydrogen peroxide, primarily for the paper industry. The plant is located only 20 minutes from Setiawan’s former high school, SMAN Cikarang Utara, which lies in a residential neighborhood north of the industrial park.
For a number of years, Evonik’s plant in Indonesia has been providing financial support to the 15 best students in each year. Four years ago HR Head Andri Gunawan and Country Head Kamaludin Setiawan conducted personal interviews with the year’s five best graduates to choose the recipient of a scholarship for the university.
"Reza impressed us immediately, because he’s clever and he comes from this neighborhood. He’s a Cikarang original!" says Gunawan. In addition to university fees, Evonik also financed Setiawan’s living expenses away from the family, books, and a laptop. This investment has paid off. Setiawan is now studying engineering on a state scholarship and plans to become a university instructor one day. "I’d really like to write my master’s or doctor’s thesis in Germany," he says.
Read the full story in our Sustainability Report 2013.
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