In an exciting move that further cements the Cotton On Group’s commitment to South Africa, the Cotton On Foundation last week announced it would invest R100 million over five years to support childhood education projects across the country.
This R100 million contribution will lead to the creation of 10,000 educational places for existing students and students-to-be in three provinces including KwaZulu-Natal, Guanteng and the Western Cape, with the first project earmarked as a redevelopment of Ethekwini Primary School.
The Cotton On Foundation already has a history in South Africa, having worked closely with local government and existing charities such as the Nelson Mandela Foundation to contribute to projects including the Mandela Day Library Program, Mandela Day Food Security Program, Caring for Girls initiative and many others. The local knowledge provided through these partnerships will inform the commitments made to future education projects led by the Foundation – allowing the organization to roll up its sleeves and bring the initiatives to life.
Once the redevelopment is complete in January 2018, Ethekwini Primary School will deliver educational places to 1,280 children. It’s a project close to the heart of the Foundation team, who in 2015 worked closely with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to donate five container libraries to the school.
Cotton On Foundation General Manager, Tim Diamond stresses the importance of a community-first approach to any development.
“We have been working closely with the school community, including teachers and parents, to better understand the issues they face and what the primary barriers to education are, so that we can make sure we deliver something meaningful,” he said.
“At the Cotton On Foundation we believe in empowering youth, so we asked the students to be architects for the day; the drawings we got back were amazing and will be incredible inspiration for our new school build. We're also very keen on using local labour and creating local jobs through this exciting project."
The Cotton On Foundation’s partnership with Ethekwini Primary School will offer support through renovation of the existing buildings and development of new classrooms and other facilities; teacher development and training; community engagement; and nutrition education. In the interim, 50 solar-powered Kindle readers were delivered earlier in February through a partnership with the World Reader Program, meaning 150 different books selected by specialist educators are now at students’ fingertips. Teachers have also been trained on how to use the devices to empower their students.
In order to fund their global projects and this investment, the Cotton On Foundation is built on a special partnership that empowers Cotton On Group customers to give back; 100% of the proceeds of Foundation products sold in Cotton On Group stores around the world go back to its projects. To find out more about the organisations projects around the world, head to www.cottononfoundation.org