Each year, the Maddocks Board awards a scholarship to a Maddocks employee to pursue a community or charity interest.
Under the scholarship, Maddocks provides the recipient with up to two weeks of paid leave and pay any necessary airfares, travel costs and costs of participation of the staff member to a maximum of $6000, for the purpose of engaging in a project directed towards benefiting the community or a charity.
In FY18, the scholarship was awarded to Florencia Quinteros, a legal secretary in our Sydney office.
Florencia’s interest was to volunteer and help support women in the ‘Tshega‘ program in Limpopo Village, Johannesburg for two weeks. Florencia undertook her volunteer placement through Women’s Empowerment Programs where she supported disadvantaged women who have escaped abusive spousal relationships about the internet and selling products via e-commerce websites.
Here she describes here experience in Limpopo Village.
I travelled to Limpopo Village, a small remote community five hours from Johannesburg to attend a Women’s Empowerment Program. The initiative, called ‘Tshega’, is an economic independence program where women who have escaped abusive spousal relationships can gain the skills necessary to support themselves and their children.
They are trained in initially simple, then complex sewing and stitching skills, designing and producing products in traditional African Shwe Shwe and Ankara fabrics. The sale of the items covers the operating costs and the women’s basic monthly salary. As sales have increased, they have employed more women from the Village. Today there are eight women employed full time.
During my time at Tshega, I used my skills to implement a new product line with items that were market trending and low cost to produce. These items included yoga mat covers, waist bags and bandannas. I also set the business up on a number of e-commerce platforms, some within South Africa (RSA Made), some within other countries in the African continent (Afrikrea) and others internationally (Etsy). This would allow them reach a larger market audience at a minimum price. I set up their accounts and profile, styling the pages and taking pictures of their range. Essentially, the greater the orders received, the more women they could take onboard to reskill and provide a full time job in a safe working environment.