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".

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!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Just two days left to nominate your philanthropy heroes for awards

Published: 27 June 2012

Nominations for the prestigious annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards close on Friday, 29 June. The annual national awards were established six years ago to acknowledge, celebrate and honour those whose personal giving has contributed towards sustainable social change in South Africa and has inspired others to give.

Previous awardees include the likes of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the Ackerman family, Kanchana Moodliar (founder of the Saris for Good Karma Project), Bridgette Mamugubudi (who set up the Litshani Vhana Vhade Foundation for disadvantaged children in rural Limpopo), best-selling author Richard Mason (who established the Kay Mason Foundation in memory of his late sister), Refiloe Seseane (a TV personality who started the organisation 18twenty8 to empower young women) and Dwyn Griesel (founder of the Kronendal Music Academy of Hout Bay).

Inyathelo programme director Gabrielle Ritchie says they are looking for extraordinary people who are actively working in small or big ways to improve their communities and our country - be it through, for example, the arts, education, health, research or the provision of basic services.

“Philanthropy is dependent on the interest, passion, commitment, generosity and foresight of individuals wanting to make a difference, and our awards seek to recognise and commend these people publicly. Individual giving is a key source of donor money in South Africa and we really need to grow this in a big way. Philanthropists play a critical role in providing services to poor and vulnerable people, a voice to those who have not yet been heard, and innovative solutions to our many social problems without always insisting on making a profit,” explains Ritchie.

Anyone is invited to nominate their philanthropy heroes by filling in a simple online form on the Philanthropy SA website at or by contacting Inyathelo’s philanthropy coordinator Alfred Thutloa on or 021 465 6981/2. You can also submit a nomination via the Inyathelo Facebook page: The awards will be announced at a gala event on 30 October 2012 in Johannesburg.

Thutloa says the awardees are chosen according to specific criteria by a panel of eight highly respected judges, including Zenariah Barends (GreyMatter Finch), Amanda Bloch (Children’s Hospital Trust) and Amelia Jones (Community Chest Western Cape). “We are looking for philanthropy champions who have demonstrated initiative and leadership, and who have used their personal funds, no matter how large or small, to make a difference and inspire others to give. It is critical that individual South Africans begin to support the civil society organisations that form the backbone of our democracy and social welfare system. The impact of recent funding shortfalls is having dire consequences, particularly in the areas of education, health care and social justice. We believe local philanthropists can help bridge the funding gap left by international donors,” says Thutloa.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Operation Khanyisa talent shows bring home the message

Prize giving ceremonies, hosted in April by Operation Khanyisa, rewarded the 1,500 children and community members who were rallied into talent show competitions at five focus sites around the country last year.

These competitions saw participants relay the campaign’s educational messages in poetry, poster design, coloring-in, drama, singing and dancing in a fun and creative way.

Maboe Maphaka, National Sponsor for Eskom’s Energy Losses Management Program (ELP) and Operation Khanyisa’s champion says:  “We received a very positive response from the schools and had great attendance with the whole community getting involved.

“Winners were excited to receive prizes and supporters cheered for their teams.  Teachers and parents were very thankful for prizes won and appreciated the overall campaign impact on their lives. Our stakeholders showed their support as well, along with the coordinators and field workers who made sure that the events ran smoothly.”

Operation Khanyisa is a behavioral-change campaign intended to educate the public about the negative effects of electricity theft. It aims to mobilize all South Africans towards legal, safe and efficient power use and encourage the reporting of electricity theft.

The campaign targets all power users including industrial, manufacturing, agricultural and commercial sectors and residents in general.

“The response from the community exceeded our expectations.  Well done to all who participated.  Their talents shouldn’t stop here but must be taken forward.  I encourage the learners to remember the message which they need to propagate.  Every participant was enthusiastic and incorporated the key messages into their performances very well.”

“It was evident that hard work and effort had gone into the talent shows as the objectives were achieved across various ages and groups,” concludes Mr Maphaka. 

For more on Operation Khanyisa head on to 


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

IREX shares stories of hope - celebrating AFRICA DAY (25 May2012)

Although IREX began its work in the Soviet Union more than 40 years ago, today we implement a wide portfolio of programs in 41 countries in Africa. More than 20% of our program budget goes to African civil society actors, journalists, teachers, youth, and community leaders. Our programs draw on local expertise, NGOs and staff to deliver sustainable solutions well-suited for the African context.

In honor of Africa Day, and the in spirit of unity and diversity it commemorates, we are pleased to share our new factsheet on IREX in Africa and some snapshots and thoughts from recent IREX visits to Africa.

Susanna worked with teachers in Ghana - The TGC teachers (U.S.) and TEA/ILEP host teachers (Ghanaian) found solidarity and built lasting relationships through identifying ways in which teachers across the globe work in the midst of adversity to meet the ever increasing needs of students and communities.

Robin and Aimee visited universities in Tanzania and Uganda: “This is exactly what we need!” was the one phrase that was repeated time and again in Uganda, Tanzania, and Ghana during outreach for the University Administration Support Program.  It is incredibly rewarding to be working on a program that is such a perfect fit for the development of much-desired management reform in institutions of higher education in Africa.

Kathy represented IREX’s senior management in Liberia:  Enjoyed seeing the CSML program in action, visiting a community library in downtown Monrovia. There is a children’s corner where children can come and read books, books for adults and space for various  trainings for adults.

Anne is in Liberia today, exploring ways to use theater for conflict resolution: Local theater troupes engage community members in an interactive drama about land ownership conflict in Westpoint, one of Monrovia’s toughest neighborhoods.  Manjoe Borlay of Flomo Theater, a partner in IREX’s CSML program, explains, “It’s so important to create a space for communities to talk about these things and to come up with their own solutions.”

Story by IREX

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Angolan refugees return from Namibia

Angolan refugees who had been living in Namibia for over 20 years have been handed over to the Luanda Government as part of the tripartite voluntary repatriation.
Just last week, a group of 141 Angolans, who had been staying at Namibia’s Osire refugee camp, also left for their country.
That was the first group of Angolans to be repatriated through the Katwitwi border post, while three groups consisting of over 800 refugees had already gone home through Namibia’s Ohangwena Region, to the Namacunde transit centre in the southern region.
Kavango Regional Governor Maurus Nekaro exchanged documents with the Vice-Governor of the Kuando-Kubango Province in Angola, Mr Pedro Camelo, signifying the handing-over of the refugees.
The voluntary repatriation, of mostly women and children, was witnessed by the UNHCR Country Representative, Mr Lawrence Oba Mgbangson.


Dr Mgbangson thanked Namibia for having assisted the refugees, especially with the provision of medical care and education.
He said the Namibian Government had successfully protected the rights of refugees, as prescribed in the UNHCR Convention.
About 3,200 Angolan refugees have registered to be repatriated.
Meanwhile, Mr Camelo reminded the refugees that their country was undergoing reconstruction after a long civil war.
He indicated that peace had been restored and the returnees should actively contribute to the development of the country once they were successfully integrated.
The Commissioner of Refugees in Namibia, Mr Nkrumah Mushelenga, said the refugees received a dignified welcome at the reception centre at the Kayila Village.
The final repatriation is slated for June 27.
Close to 5,000 refugees from Angola were still in Namibia even after repatriation of 15,000 others between 2002 and 2007.

Story By  Africa Review

Monday, 11 June 2012

I can read...My first book in my own language

This follows several visits with our simple reading scheme and “class in a box” methodology.  We are working with 5 villages in the remote and almost inaccessible Zambezi Delta in Mozambique. A community so isolated, with no schools where there are only a handful of people who have ever had the opportunity to learn to read.

A very simple reading programme has been developed teaching the vowel sounds and then enough of the initial consonants to be able to decipher simple words as well as practising reading cards of the words from the book. The preparation and foundation laid prior to this outreach was key and enabled the people to more confidently achieve reading the book. It was a great privileged for all the team members who were able to participate in this outreach

Now this community is able to read a book for the first time in many of their lives in their own language! Thanks to the small team Mercy Air South Africa and a dedicated handful of people from the Marromeu Youth With A Mission Bible school and other educators.

One of the team members who is a teacher in Mozambique commented: “To be very honest – this was one of my most fruitful experiences in education – EVER! I came to learn and I got exactly what I came for. The creative way of presenting this to illiterate people was amazing and something we would love to copy in the Chimoio area of Mozambique. It has changed my mindset on how to teach the precious illiterate. It was amazing to see the progress some of the little children have made, both with reading and number-work.  For me, the highlight of this last trip was watching grown men slowly deciphering each word, pointing at it with their fingers, as they read their first reading book. Such an awesome achievement!” Francois Rauch

It was such a delight to see Mae Christina READING the first reading book in a village and the awesome silence as the whole village sat riveted listening to the story.

The learning process, which God is revealing to us, is so effective.  The active, hands on learning experience has been made to be such fun, the whole community is learning together.  Everyone looks forward to each outreach with great excitement and in each village people who have better reading skills, are teaching others using the materials developed for this task. All the materials are culturally appropriate, within the life world of this remote community.  This,  of course, is the best environment for learning.  God continues to grow and develop the programme in all areas and it is an honour to be part of His BIG PLAN.

Story by Mercy Air

Thursday, 7 June 2012

At Butaro Hospital, Rwanda, the first doses of chemotherapy are delivered

This May, clinical staff in Rwanda took a momentous step toward offering comprehensive cancer care at Butaro Hospital in the northern, rural Burera District. During the week of May 13, the hospital run by Inshuti Mu Buzima, PIH's sister organisation in Rwanda began administering chemotherapy to nine patients undergoing treatment for cervical, breast, or rectal cancer.
to find out more CLICK HERE

Story by Partners in Health - PIH.ORG

Increased income for onion farmers.

Onion farmers in central Kenya are receiving almost three times more money for their crops thanks to an initiative funded by FARM-Africa's Maendeleo Agricultural Technology Fund (MATF).
Before the initiative farmers had no way to store their onions after they had harvested them. This meant that they had to sell them as soon as they were harvested when prices were at their lowest. Each farmer had no choice but to sell his produce to local traders as soon as possible whilst the onions were still in good condition. The local traders would play the farmers off against each other, forcing prices down even further.
FARM-Africa has helped the onion farmers to form onion farming groups. The groups have been given the training they need to work as a marketing association (with around 20 farmer groups in each marketing association). The lead group in each association then helps all the members to decide together what a fair price would be for their onion harvest. If every group in the association then offers the traders the same price then they have no choice but to pay it if they wish to purchase onions from the village.
The groups also received training in how best to store the onions to prevent them from rotting. MATF funds paid for a demonstration site where a storage facility was built so that all the other groups could replicate it using the knowledge and skills that they had learnt.
Before the project farmers were receiving an average of around 10 pence per kilo of onions. The price is now around 28 pence per kilo.

Story by Farm Africa - FARM AFRICA

World Food Programme - Bringing Rays Of Hope In Niger.

Nutrition programmes are bearing fruit in Niger where special food products are helping to protect young children from malnutrition as their families struggle to make it through a long and difficult drought.       
Fighting hunger worldwide - World Food Programme is a UN agency and the largest humanitarian organisation in the world.
Story by WFP - WFP.ORG

Back in the Saddle...

Stories of Hope... (Formally affectionately known as "Hope in Africa") is getting back in the saddle.

After a couple of years of silence we're doing it agian... building nations by spreading Stories of Hope... in your country ;-)

Starting in Africa again we're planning to infect the world with Hope... join us!!

Give us your stories and let's become agents of change through Hope. Send your stories to