Absa, majority-owned by Barclays, is helping women affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa to earn an income.
It is providing financial support to the Topsy Foundation’s Tinyiko Sewing Project, which offers participants training to create handicrafts such as bags, blankets, hand-embroidered name tags, and cushion covers.
The products made are marketed and supplied to South African retail stores such as Big Blue and Tigers Eye, creating market linkages to ensure the initiative is sustainable.
Around 80 women in the impoverished community of Grootvlei – located in the province of Mpumalanga – have benefited from the programme, earning a regular wage.
In 2010, the project made more than ZAR135,000 (approximately £12,000 at current exchange rates) through the sale of almost 4,000 products.
Monica Fumane Khasu is one of the beneficiaries of the Tinyiko Sewing Project.
She said: “I am truly grateful that the Tinyiko Sewing Project has provided me with an amazing opportunity to take part in a project that not only generates an income, but also equips me with skills to work in a team with other women.”
Tiisi Maphiri, Absa Corporate Social Investment Manager, said: “We are proud to be associated with Topsy Foundation, which has made a success of the sewing initiative by creating market linkages which are critical for the sustainability of the initiative.”
Absa’s support of the Tinyiko Sewing Project is part of Barclays community investment programme, which focuses on enterprise, employment and financial capability and financial inclusion to help disadvantaged people build the confidence and skills to achieve financial independence and security.
In 2010, Barclays invested £55.3m in its community programmes and supported more than 62,000 employees in helping 1.5 million people in disadvantaged communities around the world.