IT’S INCREDIBLE TO THINK HOW FAR WE’VE COME IN JUST A YEAR. 2017 MARKED THE COTTON ON FOUNDATION’S 10TH YEAR OF EMPOWERING YOUTH GLOBALLY, AND WHAT A YEAR IT WAS…

2017 was a record breaking year, as together we’ve raised over $12,400,000, which is more funds than any year before! Over the past 12 months, our customers have collectively taken over 11,200,000 actions globally. An action means an item sold and every single item sold makes a difference. Of those 11,200,000 actions made, 3,500,000 were Cotton On Foundation water!

Without the amazing support and passion from our team members, customers and ambassadors none of what we have achieved would have been possible. When you come together, you can achieve great things and this can truly be said for 2017.

So what did we get up to in 2017?

BIG MOMENTS ON THE GROUND:

In 2017, the funds raised had massive impact on the ground.

We launched a project in Bwe’k’Lar, Thailand at Engage Asia, and we were lucky enough to have Yim, Thailand Program Manager join the Cotton On Foundation family. With a Masters degree in Political Science and years of experience, Yim has hit the ground running. With a deep understanding of the local culture, Yim has a drive for change and it is inspiring to see her in action. Cotton On Foundation’s project launch in Thailand also marked the beginning of Asia’s very own internal sponsorship program.

The existing Kirabo Global Sponsorship Program, continues to give team members a unique way to connect to our projects. We’re happy to report that we’ve gained a massive 325 new sponsors throughout the year. That’s 325 children whose lives will be completely changed as a result.

With Education being at the core of everything we do, we rolled out the Quality Education Model across 17 schools in Uganda, and in Ethetkwini, South Africa. We are serious providing the students in our supported schools with Quality Education therefore aligning our QEM with the United Nations Sustainable Goals (UN SDG) is of the utmost importance, as is global collaboration.

But what is success without measure? From 2018, we are committed to an annual UN SDG Impact Report, to track and scrutinize everything we do, in our mission to be ever better and empower youth through quality education.

2017 saw us really focus on literacy with a partnership with Worldreader, providing e-readers for P1-3 students in two schools so far. Throughout the year we delivered creative writing master classes to teachers and students in 11 schools, which will lead to published collections of 50 children’s stories through partnership with Ducere Foundations’ African Children stories.

But we know that a child can’t go to school if they are unwell, so our work in healthcare is ever growing. This year one of our biggest developments in this area was the completion and opening of the Namabaale Healthcare Centre, with over 700 patients seen so far. We continued our work in education, prevention and treatment in the Ross Langdon HIV centre which saw almost 2,300 people tested for the disease.

The increasingly popular Nutrition Mission continued in Namabaale village and launched in South Africa. The revolutionary program which has received a great response from participants focuses on empowering communities by providing training and mentorship surrounding the importance of quality food and nutrition with long term outcomes. The program recognises leaders within the class who are then trained as Nutrition Mission trainers, which establishes a sustainable outcome for the communities in which it is operating in.

We celebrated our 10th year of changing lives with a bang! In October alone, our team members in stores globally raised over $900,000. Celebrations were held across our global support centres, including a photography exhibition where close to 100 images were sold with 100% of proceeds going towards our projects, a PR event in Sydney to launch our Gifts that Count pin series, and a Road to 10,000 experience to Southern Uganda.

In our continued work of connecting our people to our projects, over 75 passionate Cotton On Group team members, across seven countries had the opportunity to travel to Southern Uganda as part of the Road to 10,000, seeing the progress made on the ground first hand.

With infrastructure playing a massive part in Cotton On Foundation operation, creating sustainable, sound structures within supported communities is extremely important for us. This year, hard work and attention to detail paid off, with Cotton On Foundation buildings rewarded with three nominations at the African Architecture Awards.

All of this would not have been achieved it wasn’t for our hard working teams behind the scenes….

BIG MOMENTS FOR THE TEAM:

We scrutinised our projects and operations in 2017, to better our fundraising outcomes. One of the larger changes made was making a massive step forward for the environment, partnering with VISY to deliver more environmentally friendly water bottles that are made from 100% recycled PET materials.

In the lead up to the festive season, Gifts that Count were launched, a series of five pins, each representing life-changing outcomes for children in Southern Uganda. The campaign exceeded our expectations, selling over 4,150 units, and in particular, 75 of the bike pin, which means 75 children will soon receive a bike as transport to enable them to get to school.

The launch of the brand new Cotton On Foundation website was another massive move in the marketing and engagement world. With regular updated information on our projects, 360 images, statistics and progress reports, the website has received amazing feedback within the Cotton On Group community and beyond.

2017 was also record breaking in the way of digital content, with 15 Cotton On Foundation videos produced, a great asset and way of storytelling across different platforms. This included our 10 year celebration video, and our Gifts that Count feature videos, and more which are all accessible on You Tube.

As we approach 2018, a year that is sure to be our biggest and best yet, there is so much to look forward to! We’re looking at new areas to develop into, with a focus on the QEM.  We will fill in the gaps from kinder through to university, so that no child is left behind. We will continue to grow strong relationships with the communities we partner with and look to new areas to start development in, bringing quality education to remote villages, because no child should have to journey miles to get to school. We will continue to support local projects close to the hearts of our people, creating global pathways of opportunity to youth all over the world.

Each day, we’re getting closer and closer to reaching our goal mission of establishing 20,000 educational places by 2020.

Stay tuned, because the best is yet to come!  

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