LAST Thursday ViPlus Dairy CEO Jon McNaught was at the centre of happy cross-cultural exchange.
With 50-odd buyers from China enjoying a tour of the Toora factory and a small delegation of school children from Toora Primary School, who were on hand to receive a $5000 novelty cheque, it was an interesting mix of people.
According to the Chinese interpreter travelling with the overseas visitors, a meal at the local pub (with chicken parma the favoured order) had been among the highlights of the trip so far. The Chinese were clearly impressed with what was happening at the factory too, not to mention at dairy farms in the region. For a country that is discovering the health benefits of dairy produce, Toora is a Mecca – a source of liquid gold.
“Every year ViPlus provides donations to support the local community, whether it be sporting clubs, the school or art ventures. In past years we’ve provided support to the school in terms of support of the library and the inspirations and aspirations of the students,” he told the delegation.
“We’ve also set up a museum here at the factory celebrating the dairy industry in the region. But today we are here because we are providing a donation to the school again, to continue our support.”
Students Maddi, Tiana, Layella and Tom gratefully took the cheque as photos were taken. Toora Primary School committee president Tara Hollier was also there.
“On behalf of all students and teachers, we’d like to thank ViPlus for their ongoing support. These funds will be used to help develop our reading program. We’ll be getting new books and money will also go toward our play pod, which is our creative play space,” she said.
The Chinese interpreter translated Tara’s speech, before the delegation was invited to ask questions. Several came back, among them, “How many children attend Toora Primary School?”
The answer was 34. It was met with stunned disbelief, but a lot of laughter. One Chinese woman volunteered that the average class size in China was 60 or more. Everyone was learning something.
Moments later, the tour rolled on, with more photos and a lot more grinning.