Over the past 18 months, Marriott International and Royal Kidz have handed over a total of 3000 donations to schools in disadvantaged communities across South Africa.
Thanks to the collaboration, 320 children who go to Klipheuwel Primary school situated Durbanville,will receive school shirts, jackets and socks.The school donation also includes 320 pairs of brand-new school shoes, made possible through the ongoing Shoes for the Future project run by the Marriott Business Council for South Africa.
Hotel guests have been part of this drive by making donations.The 1000€ raised by the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel also boosted the Shoes for the Future funds.
The Sheets for Shirts initiative started when the founder of Royal Kidz, Danolene Johanessen, realised she could create a ‘circular economy’ by fashioning kids school shirts from the white sheets.To date, approximately 700 sheets have been repurposed into 3,000 school shirts.
“Since 2013, it’s been the Royal Kidz mission to restore dignity to our South African children who have had to present themselves at their schools without uniforms, and with broken, ill-fitting, and often no shoes. Sheets for Shirts has boosted our organisation’s sustainability because we now benefit also from having a social enterprise on board,” said Johanessen .
“It’s great to have a sustainable solution for our hotels’ bed sheets that also enables these children to feel self-confident in their school community. This donation to Klipheuwel Primary school children has been made possible due to the collection of bedsheets from Marriott International properties across South Africa, as well as additional support from Marriott International’s Sustainability and Social Impact Platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction,” Volker Heiden, Marriott International’s Area Vice President for Sub Saharan Africa.
The innovation led to R1.2 million being funded by the Marriott International Cape Town office that enabled Johanessen to start Restore SA, a social enterprise employing local seamstresses and dedicating 40% of its profits to fund the Royal Kidz uniform project. Restore SA makes the school shirts for the programme, as well as other products for sale.
Throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period, Restore SA has also been producing masks from Marriott International hotel sheets and distributing them in disadvantaged communities were adhering to safety protocols has been most difficult .