Helping students write a better future

By supporting the Rural Development Foundation in keeping more than 700 children in school


Learn how Cargill Trade and Structured Finance (TSF) helps students by supporting the Rural Development Foundation's education efforts in Andhra Pradesh, India.


August 2012 – In the back country regions of Andhra Pradesh in India, children of farm workers had the will to write a better future for themselves, but simply lacked the means. Now, thanks to the non-profit Rural Development Foundation (RDF) and steady support from Cargill Trade and Structured Finance (TSF) and its global teams, many children are staying in school and working to fulfill their aspirations. RDF works with two schools with a total strength of 1900 students. Cargill’s support enables at least half of these students to continue their education.

Primary school students at the Matendla school.
Primary school students learning at the Matendla school, which receives support from Cargill TSF.

For generations, the villagers of Matendla in Medak district earned their livelihoods by working long hours on farms with incomes rarely rising above US$50 per month. With barely enough money to feed their families, it’s often their children’s educations that suffer the most. Children frequently are pulled out of school to help work on the farms.

But the TSF team globally has been working to help change that. They’ve partnered with RDF, which runs five schools and a junior college in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh. Cargill made contributions, through both corporate funds and TSF’s global employee donations, which are then used to sponsor individual students.

Case studies in hope

Kanchem Ajay is in Grade 6 and has been at the top of his class since he arrived at Matendla. But a few years ago, Kanchem’s parents, who had eight children to feed, were on the brink of withdrawing him.

Support from Cargill arrived just in time. The school management didn’t want to see Kanchem go, given his high potential and consistent hard work.

“He showed a lot of promise, and we’re happy that we could help secure his future by extending the Cargill sponsorship to him,” said Vandita Rao, chief executive officer of RDF. “We have been able to retain many such children who would otherwise be working as daily wage laborers or something similar.”

Nampalli Jyothi also consistently demonstrated outstanding academic performance. A student in Grade 7, she aspired to be a lawyer. As with Kanchem, support from Cargill arrived for Nampalli just as her parents were preparing to pull her out of school because they could not afford the monthly costs of less than US$3.

“Cargill TSF is very happy to support the very worthy efforts of RDF. We look for alignment with Cargill’s own community-enriching priorities while also promoting demonstrations of TSF employees’ direct engagement with charities globally. TSF is now working towards having all its employees commit volunteer time,” said Ross Hamou-Jennings, business unit leader for TSF.

Witnessing the impact firsthand
Students at the Kalleda school.
A student at the Kalleda school, supported by Cargill through the Rural Development Foundation, explains the solar system to students visiting from another school.

Gopul Shah and Maheep Shukla from TSF India recently visited some of the RDF schools.

“It is overwhelming to see the work and the impact,” said Gopul. “It is gratifying to notice the aspiration and the enthusiasm of the kids, teachers and the support staff at the school; it’s an eye opener on what is happening in very remote parts of India. I am impressed and thankful for the support from TSF’s management and my colleagues globally.”

“We were amazed to see the commitment and exuberance of the RDF team; the schools are run by professionals who focus on the overall development of the students,” said Maheep. “We felt proud to be partnering with RDF in achieving the corporate vision of nourishing people and enriching communities.”