Thursday, 13 September 2012

Early childhood development gets support from designer

Catherine Deane, the Hong Kong-based designer was recently on a short visit to South Africa in her capacity as ambassador for The Unlimited Child, a non-profit organisation committed to improving early childhood development throughout South Africa. With offices in Hong Kong, London and New York and clients such as Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Fergie and Pippa Middleton, Deane will be using her profile to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

Deane's roots sit in Durban as this is where she grew up and was educated. After completing a diploma in fashion design at Durban Technikon, she started her own clothing business and this is where she gained first-hand experience of the impact a lack of fine motor skills can have in later life. "Many of the local seamstresses had trouble with basic tasks such as cutting fabric and even with on-the-job training, there was not much improvement. It made me realise the importance of early childhood development as this is when our fine motor skills and cognitive skills are developed," she says.

Issues are not limited to SA

According to Cassy Healy, CEO of The Unlimited Child, early childhood development issues are not limited to South Africa. "Unless children younger than six are exposed to the correct stimulation such as learning colours and shapes through educational toys, they will never reach their full potential in life. They will be untrainable and destined for a life of poverty as they will never have the ability to learn a skill. The situation is dire as currently there are over six million children in South Africa who have little or no access to early childhood development."

The Unlimited Child is addressing early childhood development as it provides educational toys as well as practical training for caregivers for crèches in underpriviledged areas. "By giving caregivers access to these toys and training them how to use them to stimulate the children, we are helping them to prepare these children for school. Through play the children attain valuable language, numeracy and motor skills, while also receiving life skills training in terms of socialisation and sharing. With these vital skills, children enter school with ready minds and the capacity to maximise their potential," Healey says.

Experience was motivating

During her visit to South Africa, Deane visited a number of crèches in the Valley of a Thousand Hills. "The difference between the children in the crèches that have applied The Unlimited Child model is huge and it's incredible to see how the caregivers embrace this opportunity. The whole experience has been unbelievably motivating and has given new meaning to my role as an international ambassador," says Deane.

Commencing with her 2012 Autumn Winter collection, Deane will make a donation from the sale of each dress to The Unlimited Child. This donation will provide a child with a year's supply of educational toys.

The Unlimited Child has already successfully reached over 260 crèches stimulating more than 20 000 children and has provided training for more than 751 caregivers in KwaZulu-Natal. The organisation recently rolled out pilot programmes in the Western Cape and Gauteng in June 2012. For more, go to


Friday, 17 August 2012

Beyoncé gets behind World Humanitarian Day

This World Humanitarian Day, we want to make a statement that can't be ignored.

We want the world to say 'I WAS HERE', and on August 19th commit to doing something good, somewhere, for someone else.

From major international humanitarian operations to handing out food to the homeless, however big or small let's show the world that we believe in helping others. 

But for the world to take notice, we need to shout it loud, all at once.

Join the UN, Beyoncé and global aid organisations in helping to reach 1 billion people, on 1 day, with 1 message by signing up to this Thunderclap.

And on August 19th, we will flood the world with our message.


  1. At the top of the page support via Twitter, Facebook, or both, and get the word out to your friends and followers to do the same.

  2. On August 19th, make your mark by doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. Visit for suggestions of how you can make a difference.

  3. Watch as everyone's messages are simultaneously shared around the world, along with a special World Humanitarian Day performance by Beyoncé.
Find out more ways to make a difference

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Paperight aims to get affordable books to where they are needed

Published: 23 July 2012

In much of Africa, books are both expensive and hard to find - but almost every small town has a copy shop. Digital distribution start-up Paperight aims to bridge the gap, using copy shops to get affordable books to where they are needed, while protecting the rights of authors and publishers.

"Paperight is essentially a rights clearing house," says founder Arthur Attwell, a former publisher who developed the business as a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow. "We negotiate printing rights with copyright owners and offer a payment mechanism that allows any copy shop, NGO, school or library with a printer/copier to distribute legal copies of books.”

Paperight partnered with Realmdigital, a leading developer of large-scale content distribution platforms, to develop the web-based system. The site now hosts hosts a growing library of text books, study material, fiction and other content that bypasses the production, distribution and retail cost associated with print publishing.

Attwell says Paperight books could be 20% to 30% cheaper than their conventionally distributed counterparts. "Publishers can choose their own rights fees and Realmdigital has built a platform that makes it easy for printers to include this cost, and Paperight’s fee, into the final cost of printing a book for a customer."

Murray Gough, Paperight’s account manager at Realmdigital, says the first version of the site, which went live in May, was developed in just two months. "We’ve tried to make it as easy to use as possible for everyone involved," he says. "Printers can buy prepaid Paperight credits, then search for and download books for their customers on request. The content is converted to PDF and printed right there, and the printer’s prepaid account is debited."

To discourage illegal copying, each book is watermarked with the name of the buyer and the print shop, along with a unique URL for a website where readers can find additional content.

Attwell says he’s often asked why he’s pushing paper when digital formats are the future: "I’ve worked in digital for five years and I truly believe it is the future. But I’ve concluded that we need a solution that works for everyone today. Paperight is that solution."

For his part, Realmdigital CEO Wesley Lynch says he believes Paperight "promises to be one of the great developmental technologies coming out of Africa, with global potential. I hope the publishing industry gives it the support it deserves".

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Making a difference for Rhinos

Author: Mark Shaw

As one of &Beyond’s ranger training guides, based in South Africa, I am passionate about wildlife and the people who care for it. When I heard about the Footprints of Hope campaign my mind started racing and the idea to walk through rural communities surrounding &Beyond’s lodges in the Kruger National Park, raising awareness for rhino conservation along the way was born. I was so excited I planned a route for a 10-day walk through small villages and &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve. The project came together quickly, and in December 2011, the team met at &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve to start walking.

In remote regions like this, people struggle to support their families and sadly, rhino poaching can be an option for instant income. The aim of the walk was to chat to locals about the importance of rhino conservation, while teaching basic life skills and positive health - using soccer games to get the message across.

We walked with Gordon Gilbert (a local soccer hero) and the Africa Foundation team (&Beyond’s community development partner) and it was life changing for me. I was touched by the people I met, who invited us into their homes, offering us cold drinks and water on a hot day, even when they have so little. They live simple lives making everyday worth living for. I was truly inspired by their positive attitudes.

We wanted to teach children why we need to protect our rhinos for the future, and the value they hold for tourism as part of the Big Five. In June 2012, 262 rhino’s have already been killed in South Africa!  We also told people about the anonymous hotline they could use to report poaching activity and that they can make a difference. After the walk, I received two leads, which I reported to the authorities. A priceless victory!

This year, on Youth Day (16 June) we returned to the same communities with the Footprints of Hope team and we hosted a soccer tournament. It was a huge success with each soccer team carrying banners for rhino conservation and making pledges to conserve and protect the rhino. Even the Kruger Park anti-poaching team entered a team, and finally connected with the community.

I reflect back on the days I spent as a ranger, tracking big game on foot and I remember how happy my guests were seeing rhino for the first time. I can only hope that we get a critical rhino message across - Rhino are only valuable to us while alive and South Africa needs our rhino. Education and awareness is vital in the fight against poaching, and it starts in the communities, when they understand the direct benefit of tourism and conservation. We need to protect our animals (and rhinos) because we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy our amazing wildlife forever. At &Beyond, we call this “Doing Well by Doing Good” and it’s one of the reasons I love what I do, knowing that I can make a small difference in the world.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Estée Lauder South Africa is proud to announce the Foundation For The Nation Pledge campaign

Issued by: Estée Lauder
16 Jul 2012 12:04

Estée Lauder South Africa has teamed up with the Make A Difference Foundation (MAD) to bring about real and lasting change in the lives of young talented South Africans.
Launched in 2010, the 'Foundation for the Nation' program donates R10 to MAD for every Estée Lauder foundation sold during selected months in the year.

These funds are then used to sponsor the tertiary education of deserving MAD beneficiaries.

In the first year, Estée Lauder's Foundation for the Nations campaign has raised over R600 000 toward the tuition of three students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

The first student to qualify for the initiative which ran in July 2010 was Jermaine Samuels; she was followed by Anee van Wermeskerken, who benefited from foundation sales that took place in October 2012.
Chandre Stuurman is the latest beneficiary to join from the February 2011 foundation sales. The next students to benefit will be announced soon.

Thanks to the continuous support of our wonderful customers, we are proud to announce that an additional R973,436 was contributed by Estée Lauder between July 2011 and June 2012 to the MAD foundation!

Funds were handed over to Francois Pienaar, founding Chairman of MAD, on June 30th 2012, at our Foundation for the Nation event held in Canal Walk

You too can make a Difference!

Already bought an Estée Lauder foundation during month of July, or planning to do so? Proudly confirm your pledge on Facebook at, to spread the word and declare your support.

Join Estée Lauder's Foundation for the Nation this month of June, and help MAD - The Make a Difference Foundation!