Cotton On Foundation celebrate 10th anniversary
October marked a special milestone for the Cotton On Group with its philanthropic arm, the Cotton On Foundation, celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the course of the month, team members had the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the tremendous efforts and achievements of the Foundation which has delivered quality education to children in Southern Uganda, South Africa, Thailand and Australia’s northern territory.
To launch the celebrations, curated content was captured in an interactive installation at the Group’s Global Support Centre in Geelong. Equipped with virtual reality headsets, the installation allowed team members to see the work of the Foundation firsthand by immersing themselves in real life projects currently being undertaken in Southern Uganda, South Africa, Thailand and the Northern Territory.
Over the course of the month, team members enjoyed a host of special events and activities including the Group’s monthly barbeque which was themed with Ugandan food and music – a nod to the origins of the Foundation. Special guest, Father Mugisha Nestus, travelled from Uganda to take part in the month-long festivities including giving spirited accounts of his childhood in Mannya and describing the evolution of the community since the Foundation first started its work there 10 years ago.
Celebrations culminated in a special ’10 Years of Foundation’ photo exhibition at the Group’s Global Support Centre, which saw its on-site cafe transformed into a beautiful gallery space with over 70 pieces on display . Team members and special guests, along with their families and friends, took in a display of iconic and inspirational images captured across the Foundation’s four project regions while enjoying drinks and canapés together with a live acoustic performance.
By the support of its team members and customers, the Cotton On Foundation has raised more than $63 million over the last 10 years through the sale of everyday items such as water bottles, mints and tote bags across the Group’s global store network.
With 100 percent of proceeds going directly to the Foundation’s projects, this unique fundraising model resonates strongly with the Group’s purpose-driven millennial customer base, who are able to participate in making a positive difference with products being sold for between $1 and $3 – a price point that is reflective of their lifestyles.
Thanks to their altruistic nature, coupled with the efforts of our 22,000 team members globally, a Foundation product is now sold every three seconds globally; a number that has allowed us to significantly expand our projects in Southern Uganda while taking the Foundation global with new initiatives in South Africa, Thailand and Australia’s Northern Territory.
Since its inception, the majority of the Foundation’s work has been carried out in Uganda, where the organisation has proudly delivered over 5,800 educational places, 104 new classrooms, three health care centres which have provided care for more than 100,000 people, and upward of six million meals and two million litres of fresh drinking water to local communities.
With a commitment to deliver 20,000 educational places by 2020, the Foundation has expanded its work to South Africa with the redevelopment of Ethekwini Primary School in Durban which will create 1,500 educational places, together with the construction of a brand new school in Bwe K’lar near Mae Sot in Thailand which will deliver a further 200 educational places.
The Foundation has also been working closely with Indigenous communities in Northeast Arnhem Land to deliver music workshops to children and adolescents in partnership with the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in Yirrkala. In addition to this, the Foundation has partnered with the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, to support an innovative educational program called Learning On Country, which takes learning from the classroom to the bush, where the traditional owners of the land and elders become teachers. Empowered with both artistic and cultural knowledge, students are able to reconnect with their history, and build a strong identity and cultural connection.
Through the continued support of our team members and customers around the world, the Cotton On Foundation is on track to deliver 20,000 educational places by 2020, and help break the cycle of extreme poverty.