the clothing bank

Submitted by ConsciousBabe on Fri, 2012-02-03 17:53

The Clothing Bank helps local disadvantaged women become business empowered.

The ladies are allowed a certain amount of credit each month to keep distribution of stock fairThe ladies are allowed a certain amount of credit each month to keep distribution of stock fair

This awesome Observatory-based organisation has come up with a concept that uses what could potentailly have been waste as an effective resource.

Exess clothes donated by corporate retailers like Woolworths - end of the line garments, rejects, returns or slashed samples - are sorted and fixed daily by The Clothing Bank staff. Their workshop boasts a whole array of quality products, as well as the equipment to transform any damaged pieces into something beautiful.

While some of these clothes are sent to other charities around the city in a very organised manner, the rest is used to assist in a training programme for disadvantaged women.

Providing training in life skills and business management to hundreds of mostly single mothers every year, The Clothing Bank work together with other organisations to help young women to become financially empowered.

‘Most of these women come to us in debt, so we emphasise consumer rights and the importance of record-keeping,’ says Tracey Gilmore, partner of this corporate-sponsored venture.

During their time with The Clothing Bank, trainees are provided with the resources to start their own small businesses within their communities – buying the clothes at a very reasonable price and then selling them on for a good profit.

Miss Gilmore shows us around the workshopMiss Gilmore shows us around the workshop

In payment for this amazing opportunity, the women must work 1 day a week of work at The Clothing Bank, fixing and sorting the clothes. Those who show the best potential also have the chance to become a student of a more prestigious business course.

Tracey Gilmore and Tracey Chambers (yes I know - the two terrific Traceys!) established this project in 2009 in the hope of keeping umemployed women from becoming victims of their situations.

When Miss Gilmore ran a programme called Dress To Impress – a project that helped disadvantaged ladies dress smartly for job interviews- she quickly noticed how the real problem lay in the lack of jobs available to women with little or no skills.

Although this organisation is still young, The Clothing Bank have found themselves wonderfully effectual and very popular with those women wanting a better chance at life.
While the challenge lies in shifting behavior to that of more saving and planning for the future, research has shown that through The Clothing Bank many women have experienced a rise in living standards.
with applications each year, The Clothing Bank have now decided to set up another branch in Paarl - to be opened in May.

‘The transformation is almost instant! It really has just snowballed,’ says Tracey Gilmore.

When the first group of Clothing Bank students graduate at the end of this year, the terrific Traceys are hoping to be able to set up each lady up with their own micro-franchise. Whatever life lays ahead of them, they now have invaluable skills to help them along the way - thanks to The Clothing Bank!

( categories: )