Following the success of its 7-year long-standing partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal based non-profit, Thanda, Beiersdorf has further committed a funding donation to address the critical long-term aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this commitment, Beiersdorf lives up to its sustainability agenda Care Beyond Skin, which seeks to enhance inclusivity within society and achieve sustainable advancements in environmental protection.
Thanda was founded in 2008 by Angela Larkan and Tyler Howard with the intention of providing support and education for young children in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Since then, Thanda is making a difference in over 2,000 direct beneficiaries' lives daily and reaching over 45,000 people overall, offering a holistic approach to community development.
Godwin Harrison, managing director for Beiersdorf Southern Africa, says the relationship between the company and Thanda is “deeply meaningful” as this partnership is greatly vested in the health, wellness, and future success of the children in the Mtwalume area where Thanda is based.
The Care Beyond Skin funding relief comes on the back of a pledge in 2020 by Beiersdorf to contribute to the world’s collective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The South African portion of the 50-million Euro commitment was channelled through the non-profit Thanda with a view to supporting the critical needs of the underdeveloped rural Mtwalume community.
The Covid-19 funding was released in three phases. Phase 1 in 2020 focused on immediate relief to take care of the children, vulnerable and elderly in the community, ensuring access to food and water, and continued education. Phase 2 included implementation and roll-out of long-term sustainable food solutions via youth-led organic farming programmes. This funding helped ensure Thanda, and its beneficiaries were less disrupted by the onset of the pandemic and subsequent economic lockdown.
The Phase 3 of the Covid-19 relief funding, (which commenced in July 2023) continues to address many of the most critical socio-economic crises facing South Africa. This phase will focus on building long-term household food security, addressing gaps in early learning, economic youth empowerment and climate resilience in the Thanda community.
This funding is critical at a time in South Africa’s economy which has grown just marginally higher than pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023. According to census data, the average employment rate in the Mtwalume area is as low as 10%.
In May, Statistics SA reported that at least 250,000 young people lost their jobs in the first quarter of 2023, with 62.1% of South Africans under the age of 34 being unemployed.
Godwin Harrison said Phase 3 of the Covid-19 relief funding was aimed directly at shoring up resilience in the Thanda community following the fall-out from the economic lockdown during the pandemic and to respond proactively to the many impacts as a direct result of the changing climate.
“The long-term aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to affect many vulnerable communities in South Africa and across the world. Mtwalume is a prime example of one of those communities,” said Harrison.
“This generous funding from Beiersdorf will enable Thanda to implement an intense project to empower beneficiaries across 32 targeted neighbourhoods and seven municipal wards, effectively impacting 1,000 households, to become resilient in the long-term,“ enthuses Angela Larkan, Thanda founder and executive director.
Investment has also been channelled to the Empowering Girls programme, launched in 2022, which improves the lives of 400 girls from Thanda. This curriculum is designed to build strong foundational skills such as confidence and communication, to help girls navigate life with better judgement and decision-making. The girls gain a greater sense of community responsibility and leadership roles.
Recently, the Thanda community welcomed 119 of Beiersdorf’s Durban-based staff who volunteered their time at Thanda in line with the company’s inaugural Care Beyond Skin Day.
“At Beiersdorf, we recognise our responsibility to foster positive change and are fully committed every day to strive to make our sustainability ambitions a reality. Our first-ever global volunteering initiative, Care Beyond Skin Day launches from May to July 2023, which will see more than 20,000 employees from all around the world devoting one working day to participate in a joint initiative making a difference in their communities and collectively contributing to the company's global efforts,“ states Vincent Warnery, CEO of Beiersdorf.