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SA Schools participate in an empowering social cause

16 Apr 2019


How recycling clothes helps SA children towards better education, while empowering people with disabilities and their families

According to the “Progress in International Reading Literacy Study” (PIRLS) report, 8 of 10 SA children cannot read: The report also found that 78% of South African Grade 4 learners are unable to read with meaning. This means that they could not reach the lowest international PIRLS benchmark.

This, and the sad statistic of a 55% drop-out rate before grade 12 – meaning that less than half the children starting grade 1 will actually complete their high school education, constitutes an education crisis in SA. While caregivers at low resourced Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres are passionate and dedicated to change these statistics, they lack knowledge and skills to provide quality stimulation to the children in their care and very rarely have access to ECD resources. Furthermore, many SA children go to school hungry and often times, the meal they receive at the ECD centre is usually their only meal for the day.

To give these children a better chance at educational success, Clothes to Good (C2G), in collaboration with Rise Against Hunger (RAH), have started the ‘Clothes to Food’ initiative.

By students recycling their clothes through C2G, funds will be raised to provide highly nutritious meals to children in low resourced ECD centres. The savings from these meals donated to the low resourced ECD centres will be used to upgrade the centre to improve their chances of securing a Department of Social Development grant. In addition to the meals, C2G will also be providing ECD toys made from recycled materials and training to caregivers to empower them to provide better education to the children in their care. These toys are mostly produced by people with disabilities working in the C2G ecosystem.

Last year St David’s Marist Inanda, St Andrew’s School for Girls and Saheti School packed just short of 20 000 meals and made over 1000 toys at their meal packing & toy making events to support the education of children at low resourced ECD centres.

“St David’s Marist Inanda has had a long and successful relationship with Clothes to Good, with an annual clothes collection drive having taken place annually over the past 7 years and, more recently, a toy making event with our Junior Primary boys and a Rise Against Hunger food packing event with some of our College boys. All of these events give our boys a very tangible experience of how their positive intentions, resources, time and energy can make a difference in the lives of the most marginalised in society. All of the events are aimed at maximising impact into communities within a highly organised and symbiotic ecosystem that C2G has developed over time. We have a strong values alignment with C2G, and also have a great working relationship with the team” school spokesperson, Lara Klement explained.

The advert on the facing page is our 2019 marketing campaign encouraging high resourced schools to support ‘Clothes to Food’ and help our children succeed.

The C2G programme is a student-led, 30 day programme, driven by the school leaders and supported by the C2G team. C2G provide the collection bags, a conveniently located cage for clothes collection and all the logistics at no cost to the school. The meal packing and toy making events occur at the school or at the RAH facility after completion of the project.

C2G is also changing the employment landscape for People with Disabilities and their families. With a 94 – 99% unemployment rate under people with disabilities and many mothers of children with disabilities trapped in poverty C2G empowers mothers of children with disabilities to start micro-businesses through recycled clothing, while providing training and employment opportunities to persons with disabilities in an inclusive, green ecosystem.

Recycled clothes from school projects that cannot be used are upcycled into toys by persons with disabilities providing resources to low resourced ECD centres, making a difference to SA children.

For more information, please contact Mr Jesse Naidoo on 074 242 7414 or


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