A simple string of beads, made and sold through a uniquely sustainable business model, has seen the Amy Biehl Foundation (ABF) in Cape Town, benefit by R1,062,464. Through sales of the Relate cause bracelets, regular monthly payments made over the last few years have culminated in this magical milestone of more than R1 million. Knowing that through this money 354 children will be kept safe through the ABF's work is just one of the motivating factors in promoting this product.
More than 130,000 of these bracelets were sold over a five-year period and the goal is to raise another million rand over the next three years. Brightly coloured beads, lovingly threaded by unemployed gogos (grandmothers) and township residents bring much needed employment and purpose into many people's lives. Wearing this bracelet shows commitment to change and with the selection of fashionable and funky colours anyone would be proud to sport these bracelets on their arm with the knowledge that they are supporting a cause.
The Amy Biehl Foundation was born out of the tragic murder of American Fullbright scholar Amy Biehl in a political mob township attack in 1993. Amy's parents were instrumental in keeping her memory alive by founding the ABF in 1997. The management was taken over by Kevin Chaplin in 2006 and under his directorship he has raised the public profile to extraordinary heights. The five well-established after-school centres in Gugulethu, Philippi, Bonteheuwel and Khayelitsha cater for over 2000 children and are the foundation of the organisation. Raising funds to build a headquarters in Sybrand Park, Cape Town that offers entrepreneurial skills development programmes was part of the vision and this year the head office opened. In 2016, 300 children from 18 to 25 will benefit from these courses.
A success story built out of tragedy
With high credibility amongst the many NGOs in the city, the ABF is in the top 12 of the Relate beneficiaries. A success story built out of tragedy has created a solid platform of hope and commitment and turned around many young children's lives.
Such a simple solution to giving from wherever you are in the world, with the knowledge that not only are you supporting the cause that you 'relate' to but that through this product previously disadvantaged people have employment - a simple circle that shows a never-ending cycle of support.
As a show of their commitment to transparency and accountability, each handmade Relate bracelet comes with a signature 'R' bead of authenticity and is a simple way to support a cause. The name Relate says it all as each of the causes supported have carved a solid relationship with the organization and its public.
Relate has already raised raised R31.2 million and looks to collaboration and partnerships to achieve its goals. Dealing only with credible brands, it sells through its online shop and the public can choose the cause they wish to support, both local and international. From the UN project Free and Equal rights, Bono's WHO campaigns, the Endangered Wildlife Fund to the PinkDrive as well as a variety of South African retail brands this is the gift that shows we can all be socially responsible in a simple yet effective way.