Cape Town - South Africa’s high unemployment rate has ripple effects throughout the country and it highlights the importance of the state and private corporate businesses to step in.
One such organisation that has made a difference is The Relate Trust, a proudly 100% not-for-profit social enterprise which predominantly sells handmade beaded and woven bracelets to raise money for charities globally, while creating jobs for people in low income communities.
In the last three years alone, Relate has raised more than R26 million for causes in health, education, conservation, social upliftment, and children’s and women’s empowerment, while raising close to R50 million since it became a Trust in 2010.
And at the same time, at-risk communities are given an employment lifeline.
You can find their bracelets in retailers across the country.
Helping everyone access clean water
One of the causes the Relate Trust makes bracelets for is The Rotary Club in Sea Point, Cape Town's SafeWater Project.
Water is one of the big news stories right now with heavy water restrictions in place in Cape Town. Thankfully people have really played their part, so much so, that it looks like the taps won’t run dry just yet.
Still, access to clean water is still not easily accessible for far too many residents. Also consider that water-borne diseases kill more children in Sub-Saharan Africa than HIV/Aids, measles and malaria combined.
The Rotary Club in Sea Point has made it their mission to turn this around through their SafeWater Project.
The project aims to provide cost-effective filters to impoverished communities with no access to clean and safe water. A simple way to support this initiative is through the sale of their bracelets made by the Relate Trust. Each bracelet purchased is equivalent to purchasing 2000 litres of clean and safe water.
The 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls) report released late last year revealed a statistic that left many fearing for the state of our children: Almost 80% of grade 4 pupils failed to reach the low international benchmark for reading and comprehension for that grade. They lack the fundamental skills for further learning.
The effects this will have on the future workforce and the economy goes without saying. We need to start making this right – now.
Shine Literacy is one organisation that’s got to work. Their focus on developing the reading, writing and speaking skills of Grade Two and Three children from low-income communities has already seen results: In 2016, 70% of children attending Shine’s centres were at risk in terms of their literacy. Six months later that figure dropped to 17%.
With the help of a network of over 900 volunteers working towards building a nation of readers, Shine Literacy programmes are used in 66 schools and serve over 4 500 children across South Africa.
You can support their cause by becoming donating either your time or money to one of their Shine centres. You can also get a Shine Literacy bracelet at selected Woolworths stores nationwide or get it at Relate’s online shop.
You can also support the Nelson Mandela School Library Project whose goal is to refurbish shipping containers into libraries. More than 80 000 children benefit daily from the project which has been ongoing since 2011.
For more information, please visit http://www.relate.org.za/