Gogos and madalas ‘Relate’ to Madiba

2018-07-26 06:00
Gogos from Nyanga doing beadworkPHOTOs: kingsley HOLGATE

Gogos from Nyanga doing beadworkPHOTOs: kingsley HOLGATE

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Last Wedensday, on what could have been Tata Madiba’s 100th birthday year, the Relate Trust and explorer extraordinaire, Kingsley Holgate, descended on Nyanga to reward remarkable seniors who thread bracelets.

The gogos and madalas meet regularly at Ikamva Labantu seniors club to do this close-up handwork.

That day, the Holgate team conducted eye tests and handed out free reading spectacles as part of the Right to Site initiative.

Neil Robinson, from Relate Trust, said the seniors do incredible work for the organisation and for the many charities that these bracelets fund.

Many of them (senior citizens) support their children and grandchildren with the money they earn from threading beads.

This work, Neil says, supplements their pensions and enables them to further empower their communities.

“More than ever, we want them to know how special and important they are. Their generosity and hard work embody the spirit of Madiba, who we are also honouring today and will continue to do so for the next year,” he added.

Celebrating with the seniors on Mandela Day is just the start of a major year-long centenary campaign, going beyond the 67 minutes and already having a positive impact on thousands of lives.

Relate has launched a Mandela Centenary Campaign and is partnering with individuals and businesses as part of their vision to raise R100m to help address unemployment and illiteracy.

Major partners include Woolworths, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Comair and South32, while more are encouraged to come on board to help make a difference.

Proceeds from the sale of each bracelet go directly towards employing more people to make the bracelets and to the Nelson Mandela Library Project for the creation and implementation of container libraries in underprivileged schools.

Each library typically services 1000 children per year, with the library being active for at least 15 years (so, one library will influence 15 000 children on average).

The libraries are also open to the surrounding communities and provide valuable resources for teachers.

Last Wednesday’s handover also marked the start of Holgate’s next big adventure – a perilous trek to Kathmandu.

“This is the perfect place to start. These trips are all about improving and saving lives. Giving spectacles to elderly people whose livelihood requires keen eyesight is a fulfilment of that mission.

“The seniors’ work goes far beyond just a personal benefit.

“Through beading bracelets, they have helped fund hundreds of causes and impacted thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, not to mention the families and communities they support with their extra income. The work that they do shows the power of a successful social enterprise model,” said Holgate.

The Relate Trust is a proudly 100% not-for-profit social enterprise which predominantly sells handmade beaded 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 R26m for causes in health, education, conservation, social upliftment, and children’s and women’s empowerment, while raising more than R50m since it became a trust in 2010.

To support Relate’s campaign, buy the special Mandela Centenary bracelets from Woolworths stores and select Protea Hotels, Made In SA, Out of Africa, and The Tiger’s Eye stores nationwide.

For more information on Kingsley Holgate and his Rite to Sight initiative, visit KingsleyHolgate.com/Initiatives/rite-to-sight.

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