Our wide-ranging Growing for Good learning initiatives include Harambee, which sources, trains and places unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into their first jobs. Similarly, we’re a participating employer in the Pinotage Youth Development Academy which seeks to educate and employ disadvantaged youth in the wine industry. We also support Tree-preneurs, which teaches members of impoverished communities how to grow and care for indigenous plants. Once the seedlings they’ve been given to nurture are big enough, they’re exchanged for essentials such as food vouchers, clothing and bicycles.
For maximum impact, we realise that we can’t act alone. Over the last year, a number of conferencing clients have collaborated with us to make an even bigger difference.
Allan Gray has donated 800 desk bins which will be repurposed by the Tree-preneurs nursery to be used as pots. The bins were removed from its V&A Waterfront head office to encourage employees to use the designated waste separation bins available instead of throwing everything into a desk bin (which would then result in recyclable materials being sent to landfill).
Packing for a purpose
Spier has long been a proud supporter of the Pack for a Purpose campaign – which encourages our hotel guests and conference delegates to pack much-needed items for community projects. At our recent event hosted for those in the travel and conferencing sector, we invited attendees to bring items for the more than 150 residents of the non-profit Zandvliet Care Facility. Residents are frail, elderly or intellectually disabled and few receive adequate family support. The response was hugely heart-warming: by the end of the event, there were hundreds of items (including adult nappies, bars of soap, combs, toothpaste, deodorants, etc) filling five boxes. We then distributed these to the facility.
On a recent site visit, Avon’s Wendy Shenker toured the Spier Craft Market and was hugely impressed by craft producer, Maria Sikinya’s, stunning safety pin and bead necklaces – not least when she learnt these were actually made with recycled paper. Maria was commissioned to make 300 necklaces to be gifts for an Avon conference held in Johannesburg early in January. Wendy supplied Maria with old Avon brochures and catalogues which were then used to create the necklaces.
“With a short lead time, Maria had to employ additional help to ensure she met the deadline. Short-term income generating opportunities included rolling the handmade paper beads (2700 in total!), putting all the necklace components together and packing the completed necklaces into handmade paper boxes. It has been a wonderful empowerment project which has made a real difference to the lives of all involved,” says Sue Heathcock, curator of the Spier Craft Market. “With the full payment upfront, the crafters were not only able to have a wonderful Christmas, but also able put some money aside for expenses later in the year.”
Having specialised in the design and production of jewellery for almost 30 years, Maria is a highly experienced designer and maker. Other materials she uses to create her distinctive pieces include discarded porcupine quills, twine, seeds and scraps of old fabric.
There are always serendipitous opportunities for collaboration at the Spier Craft Market. In this instance, Corrinne Erasmus, another artist based there, created special handmade paper origami boxes for the Avon necklaces. Each made from the pages of the beauty brand’s old catalogues. An accomplished artist and illustrator, Corinne is no stranger to creating magic from recycled materials either.
“I long for the plastic bag to no longer be the national flower of South Africa, so I started to make jewellery using damaged plastic bags, which I plait and turn into necklaces, mixed with beautiful chunks of wood rescued from the offcuts from my husband’s work as a carpenter,” she says. Corinne also paints succulents and indigenous flowers onto squares of repurposed pallet wood and has a range of fridge magnets made from bottle tops.