As a result of recycling clothes through our clothes to good programmes, we able to exit mothers of people with disabilities, people with disabilities, and people previously disadvantaged, from poverty into financial freedom, in a value centred, fully inclusive, green ecosystem that works. Clothes to Good is a hybrid social enterprise, comprising of Clothes to Cash Exchange (Pty) Ltd and Life Link 24/7 Cares NPO. Together the organisations recycled over 400 tons of clothes involving over 100000 children to do good in communities they serve. Clothes to Good is also a conscious fashion recycler for the retail industry.
What skills and resources were you able to draw from the community for this project?
A strong sense of community spirit to help each other to succeed. Many people with disabilities and their families have joined clothes to good to showcase the hidden assets of people living with disabilities.
Some of the challenges faced by people with disabilities living in low-income communities include: • Exclusion from the education system – More than 600,000 children with disabilities (especially those with multiple disabilities) are excluded from the education system, and those who are at school, do not receive the adequate support required to meet their special needs; • Limited early childhood intervention services leaving many children with disabilities with secondary disabilities due to lack of intervention • Affordable transportation – taxi, trains and buses are generally not designed to cater to this community, which mandates the use of expensive special purpose transportation; and • Abuse and harassment – limited access to opportunities often means that people with disabilities in low-income communities are confined to their homes, which exposes children and youth to sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Accordingly, the statistics reflect that these children are 3 to 4 times more likely to be abused than able-bodied children. These and a myriad of other challenges generally prevent people with disabilities from becoming gainfully employed. This is reflected in South Africa by the current unemployment rate of 99% among people with disabilities.
Addressing the challenges
Currently, we have over 55 microbusinesses, selling high quality affordable used and new clothes in their communities to sustain their families. Clothes to Good (C2G), recycled over 400 tons of clothes from over 100000 students in high resourced schools. The students reinvest the funds attained from the C2G programme buying their good used clothes to complete community programmes. Clothes that cannot be used are donated to repair and reuse non-profits and upcycled into early childhood development toys. Later this year C2G is launching its OnRoute Life Skills & Supported Employment model to help people with disabilities get and keep meaningful work.
Over 400 tons of clothes recycled. Over 100 people with disabilities involved in clothes to good. Over 55 microbusinesses empowered, 30 of whom are mothers of children with disabilities. Training over 50 low resourced creches impacting over 3600 children. Made 1000s of toys from upcycled materials to sustain child stimulation at creches.