Nelson Mandela once said, “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated”. At the Cotton On Foundation, we believe that education is the key to ending the poverty cycle. Our mission is to create 20,000 educational places by 2020.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s mission is to contribute to the making of a just society by promoting the legacy of Nelson Mandela. The foundation are providing an integrated public information resource on his life, and convening dialogue around critical social issues.

With our aligning values, we are excited to announce a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa. It’s important to us to share a local, relevant story of change with our staff and customers, while empowering youth and creating sustainable futures for the people of South Africa.

Through this partnership, the Cotton On Foundation will be focusing on four extremely important programs, which also cover our four pillars of education, sustainability, health and infrastructure.

Mandela Day Library Program

The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”

In line with our strong belief in education, the Cotton On Foundation will donate libraries made from shipping containers to five schools in need in South Africa; Bovet Primary and Batsogile Primary in Johannesburg, Bulumko Secondary and Langa Secondary in Cape Town and New Brighton, Cowan High School in Port Elizabeth.

The selected schools are considered quintile 1 as per the Education Department and are amongst the most impoverished through their lack of access to basic essentials for students.

Each school selected for the program is located in an over-populated township, with a majority of its population living below the poverty line. Many of the students come from child headed or single parent homes, with the primary care taker being unemployed. This program will give 4,880 students access to reading and learning material.

Mandela Day Food Security Program

Food insecurity is a large concern affecting South Africa. According to a research report released by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in August 2013, only 45.6% of the South African population is food secure.

South Africa’s Department of Basic Education feeds over 2 million students across 22,000 quintile 1,2,3 schools, a staple meal at least once every school day through their various school feeding programs. While this is incredible, the challenge facing South Africa’s most vulnerable children is that there is no guarantee they’re receiving the required nutritional intake during school holidays.

The South African school calendar only accounts for 211 school days in the year, which means that students who are dependent on their daily school meals have no means of sustenance for the remaining 154 days. Food security during school holidays is a very real concern with many students experiencing hunger, resulting in levels of malnutrition being evident on their return to school.

The food parcel project is focused on those students and families from selected rural schools who are currently benefitting from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).

We will help deliver food parcels to 240 students during the school holidays, ensuring sure they remain healthy and able to concentrate during the holiday period.

Caring for Girls Program

Did you know that majority of girls in Africa miss up to 50 days of schooling each year, due to menstrual related challenges? This averages around 300 days over a six year period. We want to keep our girls in school and that’s where the Caring4Girls program comes in.

Caring4Girls is a sanitary towels and menstrual hygiene program for underprivileged girls, mainly in rural communities. The project aims to provide puberty and menstrual hygiene training to underprivileged girls, support them with sanitary towels for a minimum of one year and provide each girl with a menstrual hygiene booklet.

So far, over 67,000 sanitary pads have been donated to girls in rural communities. Thanks to key partners, a booklet aimed at educating girls has been printed with over 100,000 copies distributed to date.

We still have a long way to go, but we’re excited to help empower young women in these communities.

Toilet Infrastructure

At least 2.6 billion people do not have access to latrines or any basic sanitation facilities, globally. As a result, millions suffer from a wide range of preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea, which claims thousands of lives each day, primarily young children. Many schools in South Africa only have pit toilets available for their students and staff to use.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Cotton On Foundation recognise the impact of poor sanitation on public health, so through Amalooloo and with the help of the Department of Education and Social Development, we aim to reduce and one day remove, the pit toilet infrastructure in schools.

Head to to find out more about the great work of Amalooloo.


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