"I was taken to an orphanage that was in a terrible state. A little boy came out and hugged me and I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried. From that moment on I was determined to improve the lives of the children."
Lance Clark of Clarks shoes and co-founder of Soul of Africa
A wise man once said "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" and Soul Of Africa's philosophy of aid through trade echoes that thought. The fact is while cash can help and temporary employment can solve problems in the short term, the lasting solution to communities in need is self-sustainable employment.
"It's no use creating temporary employment, it's a quick fix that doesn't last. The solution to the unemployment crisis in Africa is to create self-sustainable employment and that's exactly what Soul of Africa successfully strives to do."
Sarah Gedye, co-founder of Soul Of Africa and owner of Froggie Shoes (SA Footwear manufacturer)
436 boys and girls attend Mnamatha - 137 have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. A bustling school, one classroom doubled as a kitchen, there was no computer room and just four unsanitary toilets. With help from Soul Of Africa, a new classroom and separate computer room were built together with a block with separate toilets for the boys, the girls and the staff.
"What Soul of Africa and Clarks have done will make a huge difference to the lives of many, many children for years to come."
Patrick Hlongwane, Mnamtha Headmaster
"Now I'm happy because I'm loved, I go to school, play football and I have a full tummy."
Sipho, Kethokuhle Child Development Centre
Kethokuhle means 'to look after well' and the Kethokuhle Crèche fulfils its promise by looking after children aged from three months to five years old. The service is vital to a community where working mothers and child-headed households need somewhere safe to leave their children and Soul Of Africa was happy to provide the funds necessary to build a new, dedicated Child Care Development Centre.
Naked, hungry and in pain, Sibusiso was found abandoned in a truck. In the care of Shepherds Keep - a home supported by Soul Of Africa - little Sibusiso was taken to hospital where he underwent emergency heart surgery and was also diagnosed as HIV positive. After a month long ordeal, Michelle Potgieter from Shepherds Keep was finally able to take Sibusiso home where he is doing well.
Opened in 1958, nearly 600 children currently attend Bazimile Primary School and, sadly, 40% are orphans. There are 15 classrooms, including a Reception classroom which is tiny and packed with more than sixty 6 year-olds. Determined to help with the overcrowding, as well as with other major repair work needed around the old and outdated building, Soul of Africa is funding a new classroom, repairs and upgrades. We are also funding training for the Reception grade teacher.
"It's so fulfilling to watch him content and sleeping in his crib."
Michelle Potgeiter - Shepherd's Keep
Just 7 years after its launch in 2004, Soul Of Africa had already raised a total of £850,000 to help provide education and care for children orphaned by South Africa's AIDS pandemic.
100% of all profit is donated back to help fund Soul Of Africa projects.
In the 5 years between 2006 and 2011 Soul Of Africa successfully helped 30 projects dedicated to the education and care of South African orphans.
In 2010, over 80,000 pairs of Soul of Africa shoes were sold in the UK and US.
Since its launch, Soul of Africa has helped over 7,000 orphans.
13 x Child Care and Development Centres
6 x School Additions, Upgrades, Alterations and Fees
5 x Children's Homes
3 x Feeding Schemes