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Woolies employees collaborate to take #actionagainstpoverty

Categories: COMPANY NEWS , Social & Community
This year international Mandela Day, celebrated on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, on the 18th of July, is urging people around the world to take action

People celebrate Mandela Day by donating 67 minutes of their time to a cause, as a symbol of the 67 years Mandela was in service to South Africa and its people.  As a responsible corporate citizen, Woolworths has always provided an opportunity for its employees to commemorate Mandela Day through a variety of initiatives. 

Employees at Woolworths’ Head Office and various stores around the country will be building on the success of their innovative school shoes donation campaign which was launched on last years’ Mandela Day in partnership with the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT).  NECT runs a number of educational programmes that make a difference in 4000 schools around the country.  Their most intensive part of their programme is the Fresh Start Schools (FSS), which focuses specifically on supporting 400 deeply rural, under-resourced schools, overcome massive challenges and improve their learning outcomes.

This year, NECT identified 1100 children at severely under-resourced FSS schools who are in need of a new pair of school shoes.  “It’s hard to have a healthy sense of self-worth and a hopeful outlook on life when you walk for kilometres every day in broken or ill-fitting school shoes,”  points out NECT CEO, Godwin Khosa, “The Woolies employees’ new school shoes campaign makes a real difference to the way that children who made vulnerable by poverty, think and feel about themselves.  It is a bright and positive Madiba Day effort that will enable these children to step up and feel part of the dynamic potential of South African youth.”

The children each decorated a paper cut-out in the shape of a sole of a shoe and drew what they would like to be when they are grown up.  The footprints were put on display at Woolies head office where employees could choose to support a specific child by donating R67 or more towards a new pair of school shoes, with Woolworths covering the balance.  At the beginning of the next school term, store employees will enhance the collaboration with Head Office and NECT when they deliver the brand new pairs of school shoes to the children.

“This is a highly relevant celebration of Mandela Day that has really touched the hearts and minds of Woolies employees,” says Zinzi Mgolodela, the Head of Transformation at Woolworths. “Preserving the dignity of the vulnerable was something Madiba felt strongly about and talked about often.  There are millions of South African school children who go to school without proper school shoes and this lack tends to have long-term impacts on the self-worth of each one of them.”

Other Woolies employees, mainly from stores and distribution centres, submitted proposals to the Woolworths Trust for charities they want to volunteer at during the week of Mandela Day.  The Trust selected 67 Mandela Day projects from these proposals and has donated R5 000 to each of these charities in support of employees efforts. 

Over two thousand Woolies employees will be taking #actionagainstpoverty this Mandela Day by volunteering for a range of causes including children, the elderly, animals and people with disabilities. 

Learners & shoes:  From left to right: Sinelethu Magobongo & Aviwo Ncokomani learners from Babheke Primary School near Port St Johns received new school shoes last year purchased by Woolworths Employees in celebration of Mandela Day.



On Mandela Day, Woolworths Headoffice employees (from left to right:  Fiona Jackson and Milton Fredericks) purchased footprints decorated by the learners that will be receiving brand new school shoes next week when they return to school.

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