21 years of MySchool: Sharing is caring

What an honour it was to be part of the opening of GROW Educare in association with MySchool and Woolworths in Cosmo City, Gauteng last week. It was the most perfect way to celebrate going into Valentine’s Day! I boarded a plane at 6:o0 am leaving my little ones with their dad and braving the red eye flight to participate in a day which has already left an indelible mark in my heart. It wasn’t just the early flight which made my eyes red 😉 The stories of how these incredible women managed to navigate life’s sometimes steep paths to open their own GROW with ECD centres had us all teary. They really are an example of resilience and courage and are amazing guardian angels for these youngsters who have the chance to attend their “schools”.  We were guests at Gloria’s GROW with Educare and she and her team made us feel super welcome. I was happy to see so many new and familiar faces – one of my favorite bloggers from You Baby and I, Shaney, and Katlego of Expresso joined the celebrations and the Woolies team, including the always smiling and ever caring Pieter Twine.

When Tracy Chambers (of the Clothing Bank) worked on another project with Woolies a few months ago, they realised that the best way to make a difference in our country was to encourage and develop Early Childhood Development (ECD) in all the communities in South Africa, Cue … GROW! They put together an incredible curriculum, helped entrepreneurial moms in the communities that needed it most to enhance their own knowledge and facilities and establish ECD centers that any mom would be proud to send her precious little one to!

So in a nutshell, they plan (or actually were challenged to, but now they WILL) to open 1000 of these countrywide. After meeting the children and parents and having a chance to interact with them and see how excited they are about building bright futures for the little ones in their care, I have no doubt that we’ll see their lofty ambitions realised soon!

All the best and thank you!!!!!!

Love and Light,

Jo-Ann

It is the month of love and aptly in this month, The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet community loyalty programme is celebrating 21 years of giving back.  To date more than R500 million has been raised for South African schools, charities, animal and environmental causes thanks to supporters swiping their cards at participating retailers.  

In celebration of its 21st anniversary, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has launched the ‘21 years of Giving Back’ campaign with R2.1 million to give away to 21 causes. Supporters are invited, until the end of February 2019, to nominate any South African charitable organisation that matters to them.   In May, 21 winning beneficiary organisations will be chosen from the list of nominations to each receive R100 000, and the supporters who nominated them will each receive a R1 000 Woolies Giftcard.

Originally, an innovative school fundraising concept, the programme has evolved over the past 21 years so that cardholders today also support other causes that are close to their hearts.  MyVillage beneficiaries are a wide range of human development and care charities; while MyPlanet refers to those beneficiary organisations whose work involves animal welfare, conservation and environmental causes.   Each cardholder can nominate up to three beneficiaries, and donations are made by participating retailers on their behalf, and at no cost to them.  

21 years down the line, there are 1 200 000 active cardholders raising funds for over 8 000 beneficiaries of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme, of which over 890 000 swipe for schools; 102 000 for MyVillage charities and 137 000 for MyPlanet organisations. 

To celebrate 21 years of giving back, cardholders can nominate their favourite beneficiary or any other cause in their community.  “We want to encourage our supporters to also consider bringing local, smaller organisations doing heroic work in their communities into the fold; and for whom the giveaway of R100 000 can make a considerable difference,” says MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet General Manager, Pieter Twine.

Year on year, more and more South Africans sign up for their free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cards. Over the past fiscal year a total of just over R83 000 000-00 was raised with R7 326 047-96 and R10 491 111-07 going to MyVillage and MyPlanet beneficiaries, respectively.  For many schools, charities and conservation organisations, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has become a sustainable and meaningful source of funds.  

Funds raised by cardholders have also enabled some important donations over the last year.  Thanks to the supporters of the MyPlanet Rhino Fund, a new FoxBat aircraft was donated to the Kruger National Park to help combat Rhino poaching.  A major donation to the Shine Literacy programme helped to support their expansion and the promotion of reading skills.  In 2018, the first Dream2Teach bursaries were awarded to two young South Africans who have the calling to become teachers but couldn’t afford tuition fees.

Twine says, “The amounts raised are a true testament to what happens when people collaborate and the impact that can be achieved when many people’s contributions collectively provide support to causes.  The funds raised through the programme can play an important role in enabling MyVillage and MyPlanet organisations to pay their monthly bills, or even provide them with opportunities to scale up their services or start new, much-needed projects.”

Across South Africa, large, national charities as well as smaller, local causes are well-supported by the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme.  Over the past year, the top MyVillage supported by Capetonians is the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and the most popular MyPlanet is the SPCA-Cape of Good Hope, South Africa’s oldest SPCA.  In Johannesburg, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation was the most supported MyVillage and the Endangered Wildlife Trust emerged as the top MyPlanet beneficiary.  Durban MyPlanet cardholders raised significant funds for the local SPCA-Durban & Coast; while I Care, who are devoted to finding meaningful  and sustainable solutions to the challenge of street children, is one of  the top MyVillage beneficiaries.

In Pretoria, local animal welfare organisation Wetnose Animal Rescue was the top MyPlanet beneficiary and the most popular MyVillage was the SA National Council for the Blind.  Port Elizabeth cardholders raised the most funds for their local branch of the Animal Welfare Society and for the Aurora Children’s Centre which cares for children with physical and intellectual disabilities.  Similarly in Bloemfontein, local animal welfare organisation, New Beginnings was the top MyPlanet organisation and the most popular MyVillage beneficiary was the Carel du Toit Centre which provides vital services for children with hearing impediments.

“It’s been a fantastic year of not just supporting national causes but also the smaller community-based organisations and causes,” Twine concludes.  “We hope that R2.1million to give away to 21 causes to celebrate 21 Years of Giving Back will inspire supporters to put their local heroes in the spotlight and give them a chance to win R100 000 towards the continuation fo their important work within communities.

MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is also making donations to a selection of causes, in celebration of their milestone birthday. So far 21 of the SPCA’s most in need each received R10 000-00; 21 000 Book Dash books were added to Santa’s Shoeboxes; 2 100 Tutudesks will be donated to learners at under-resourced schools in Limpopo; and 21 ‘Smiles’ (cleft lip/palate operations) with Operation Smile will be implemented in April 2019.

The 21 Years of Giving Back campaign is open to MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporters throughout the country. If you are not yet a cardholder, you can sign up for free at www.myschool.co.za or download the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet App, nominate the cause that matters to you, and be part of the active citizenship our country needs.

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