Due to many ongoing challenges facing education in South Africa, many young South Africans are not receiving the quality of education they deserve. From basic to tertiary education, much is needed to improve the situation as it is right now.

It’s often too easy to think that it isn’t within an individual’s power to make a difference. But there are people working to change this situation daily, there are local organisations that are working towards solutions, and there are initiatives that individuals can support in a small way to make a real, tangible difference right now.

A small spend for big change.

Cape-based 100% not-for-profit social enterprise Relate Bracelets is one such organization whose dedication to social change is having a huge impact on the greater tomorrow. From the sale of simple handmade beaded bracelets (2.4million to date), Relate has raised more than R38million in support of more than 90 local causes since it’s launch in 2004.

The bracelets the organization makes and sells through various partners, have reached the four corners of the world.  Driving awareness around conservation, health and social issues, Relate is connecting people to one another and things that matter, through this simple thread.  One cause and something fairly topical since it’s now  ‘Back to School’, is the Nelson Mandela School Library Project. Mandela Bangle recently partnered with Tourvest Destination Retail to launch a bespoke beaded Mandela Bracelet, available exclusively at Tourvest stores nationwide – Indaba airport stores, Out Of Africa, and Made In SA.

Tourvest aims to sell 67 000 of these bracelets (at R67 each), to provide funding for the Nelson Mandela School Library Project – giving the gift of literacy to millions of underprivileged children. This will directly provide funding for 20 refurbished and stocked container libraries, and benefit 16 000 children across South Africa.

Not only do these bracelets fund the library project, they’re also helping senior citizens across impoverished areas in South Africa who thread the bracelets to supplement their pension. Relate’s younger staff members, who put all the finishing touches to the bracelets, also benefit from skills courses and training in their chosen fields to further their careers beyond Relate. A portion of funds from the sale of each bracelet is also allocated to supporting disadvantaged fledgling businesses through enterprise development initiatives.

To find out more about Relate, the Nelson Mandela Library project or other causes you can support and even launch, see www.relate.org.za and share the #GoodNewsZA one ‘R’ bead at a time.

This article was first published in MSCI SA on 11 January 2017.