In South Africa we have fought for our rights. The 9th of August marks the day, 57 years ago, in 1956 when women marched to the union buildings in Pretoria to stand up for women’s rights – this was a momentous occasion where the role of women, in our country’s struggle for freedom, was established.

Women all over the world are still fighting for the rights that we often take for granted. Take a moment to think about it: “Despite great strides made … women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labour and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation. Around the world… women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives,” Human Rights Watch*. Even on our doorstep, women in poor communities are deprived their basic needs and right to education as a result of poverty.

This women’s month, let us thank the women in our communities who have touched our lives, having gone before us and paved the way for us to have access to the opportunities we have today.  Make an impact at grass-roots level, it’s easy – purchase a bracelet in support of Ikamva Labantu’s Women Empowerment Programme in underprivileged communities, at Poetry stores nationwide. Help give another woman the opportunity to shape her own future – together we can uplift our nation through the women who nurture its prospects.

In the 2012/13 financial year alone, Relate and its supporters raised R45 600 for the Ikamva Labantu Women Empowerment Programme. “Ikamva Labantu helps empower women by giving them the opportunity to become pre-school owners in Cape Town’s township communities, which in turn helps improve the level of care and learning for local children.  We provide training and resources to enable women to become self-reliant, also helping them to access government subsidies for their pre-schools.” Jovana Djeri, Fundraising Manager at Ikamva Labantu.

Remember to look for our signature ‘R’ bead on all Relate bracelets, which is out mark of authenticity and commitment to transparency. It means that you are making a positive change in peoples lives. Relate’s uniquely sustainable business model sees approximately a third of proceeds donated to a specific cause (in this case Ikamva Labantu’s Women Empowerment programme), the next third or so provides earnings and skills training for local bracelet-makers and supports enterprise development initiatives in South Africa, and the final third or so covers costs such as materials and packaging, to make it all happen.

Wear the change you want to see, and encourage those around you to do the same. Hopefully they will then inspire others too – giving your action an even bigger impact, positively changing the lives of others.