I’m very aware that companies unfairly capitalise on dates that they just shouldn’t. Think like, almost every company during the SSM vote, who played zero part in championing the cause prior.
It’s just not the case for Cotton On Foundation (COF), who have been empowering young women (and men, of course) through their education model for the last decade. So for CottonOn & Co to create an International Women’s Day (IWD) collection – with $10 of proceeds going straight into their philanthropic arm today, March 8th – it makes complete sense.
The retail giant – which by now you’re probably aware spans quite a few different stores under it’s umbrella like Rubi Shoes, Typo, Factorie, Cotton On Body etc – has designed a bunch of empowering tees, totes and even a light box emblazoned with the likes of ‘Love’, ‘Equality’ and ‘Power’ for IWD.
The $10 donation from each of the products will go directly towards helping empower women across the globe through quality education. That’s pretty shweet, and the shirts don’t suck either. Très chic.
What in the heck does that mean, exactly? While ’empowering through quality education’ may sound like a clear mission, it’s actually quite complex. The children in the areas where COF does their work – like Southern Uganda – need to be healthy enough to even attend classes. That means nutritious food, clean drinking water and medical assistance are all vital to the undertaking – and let’s not forget things like basic female hygiene.
It’s not uncommon for a girl to miss school during her period because she doesn’t have access to sanitary items or even undies. COF distribute these. Almost 15,000 pairs of undies, more than 1,800 sustainable pads have helped girls in COF-supported schools. What about those who aren’t even in school? Good q.
Approx 61 million primary school ages children aren’t in school, and half of that’s made up of young girls. COF have an ambitious mission to create 20,000 educational places by 2020, and have 5,800 currently.
In June this year, they are expected to finish off their project dubbed The 4 Ks – a project which begun in February 2017 to build four Cotton On-funded schools in Southern Uganda, all of which happen to start with ‘K’: Kyampalakata, Kensekka, Kalyamenvu, Kasomolo.
Each of these schools will add 500 educational places to their 20K by 2020 target – that’s 2,000 all up. Sarah Spiker, Projects Operation Manager for Cotton On Foundation explained of the project:
“It’s the first time we have had 4 schools opening at once. These 2,000 educational places will have a huge impact in these communities. Education gives people hope, choice, and power to follow their dreams, and we can’t wait to see how children in these schools will use their education to really change their world.”
A massive achievement, but of course there’s still loads to be done. So if you need a new tee anyway, you may as well help a great cause, publicly show your support for other women and cop a newbie for the wardrobe all in one fell swoop. (And because I am literally scared of people of the internet, you can get around how and where Cotton On products are made here.)
You can either head into store today or jump online to get involved in this initiative – as always, you can get a COF product (tote, water, bracelets etc) at the counter any time, with 100% of profits going straight into their work.
This writer has travelled to Uganda as a guest of Cotton On Foundation.