Relate is a South African not-for-profit social enterprise that creates opportunities to change lives by employing the elderly, refugees, and unemployed township youth to earn an income and gain on-the-job training. This post is written by Lauren Gillis, the co-founder of Relate and the trust’s full-time champion. She formed Relate in 2004, initially with the intention of helping women build self-esteem and confidence, later shifting her focus to alleviating poverty in Cape Town. Relate is the maker of ONE’s beaded bracelets.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet our partners at ONE to learn more about ONE and share stories about the power of using one’s voice – and one’s wrist – in support of poverty relief, fighting curable diseases and recognizing the rights of all people to a better life.
I left feeling that we need to get more ONE bracelets onto more arms, not only to show unity with ONE’s fight against extreme poverty, but also in recognition of the power of connection.
Whenever you wear your ONE beaded bracelets by Relate, you are connecting to the goals of ONE and the dreams of all the other people who have also touched your bracelet in its making, from the aging senior who threaded these simple glass beads onto a long roll of stretchy nylon, to the young person who turned those long strings into individual bracelets, to the refugee workers who packaged our bracelets in the Cape Town office.
You are now part of the chain of giving dignity, purpose and hope to each person along the journey of this bracelet from South Africa to you.
Lao-tzu says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Joining ONE, using your voice and wearing a ONE beaded bracelet are two simple steps. I am privileged to be on this journey – and am grateful to be on it with so many others.
Learn more about Relate bracelets here and listen to a TEDx Talk on “Redefining Philanthropy”.
Look for the signature ‘R’ bead on all our bracelets, which is a mark of authenticity and represents our commitment to transparency and accountability. Buy the bracelet here.
This article was first published by ONE.org on 25 March 2013 and is available online here