In this critical time, it is more than ever about togetherness. Earlier this year, Beiersdorf pledged to contribute to society’s collective fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by creating an immediate 50 million Euro international aid program. This commitment is in line with Beiersdorf’s corporate purpose “Care Beyond Skin” which expresses its passion to reach beyond its core business of taking care of people’s skin and making a sustainable contribution to people, society and the environment.
This is the largest, globally coordinated humanitarian program in the company’s history, aimed at providing immediate aid in the fight against Covid-19, but also long-term support by focusing their contribution on vulnerable groups within the societies in highly affected regions around the globe that are facing tremendous socio-economic challenges that are beyond the immediate health crisis.
Beiersdorf Southern Africa, which is located in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, is one of more than 170 international affiliates of the skin care company, Beiersdorf AG. Beiersdorf manufactures well-known brands including NIVEA, NIVEA MEN, Labello, Elastoplast, and Eucerin.
Through “Care Beyond Skin” Beiersdorf Southern Africa will be providing both a financial donation, and a product donation towards Covid-19 relief. The purpose of the product donation is to thank frontline medical workers across South Africa for their brave dedication and continued care of patients in the brutal face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The financial relief will be channelled through Thanda, a non-profit organisation supporting critical local needs of the rural Mtwalume community in KwaZulu-Natal.
Partnership to deliver long-term community support
Beiersdorf has a long-term partnership with Thanda, having provided support to this community for the last five years. Thanda creates innovative solutions for sustainable development with special focus on early childhood development, creative learning curriculums and organic farming.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in serious hardships for families and children in rural communities such as Mtwalume. Rising unemployment in cities has increased household sizes in these areas, as some unemployed have returned to their families in rural communities. The implications of Covid-19 include a loss of income and inability to access the feeding schemes offered at schools in the past,“ says Hamish Douglas, Managing Director, Beiersdorf Southern Africa, “this leads to insufficient nutrition and has a severe impact on children’s overall wellbeing. Our aim is to provide short-term and long-term support to the wider community of Mtwalume.”
The “Care Beyond Skin” Covid-relief donation to Thanda will be allocated into immediate feeding relief for children, care of the vulnerable and elderly, education for children, as well as agricultural projects targeted at long-term food and water sustainability. This will extend to ensure that 12 000 children will receive a fortified breakfast daily until the end of February 2021.
With employment rates in the Mtwalume communities averaging only 12%*, farming offers a way to sustainably improve rural livelihoods by empowering community members to develop self-reliance.
The objective of the funding allocated to the agricultural farming program is to increase the capacity of Mtwalume farmers’ organic vegetable production by an estimated 185% in a six-month period. This will bring food relief to 2000 household members in the rural communities whilst ensuring that fresh organic vegetables are harvested and sold locally. This will increase food availability and offer a long-term food sustainability solution for the future.
The agricultural ‘mentorship’ program will teach local community members how to farm and grow their own nutritious food (where possible on their own land), simultaneously empowering these men and women to be able to create their own food security, and a source of income. To help facilitate this the “Care Beyond Skin” funding will provide installation of infrastructure such as irrigation and fencing which are critical to ensure successful crop maintenance and growth.
“We are acutely aware of the additional challenges that have been imposed on these communities as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Douglas “and it is our objective to not only offer support, but to ensure that it has a long-lasting impact.”
The funding will include provision of food parcels to the elderly who play a pivotal role in communities where, in many cases they have become the sole guardians of not only their own grandchildren, but to children who may have lost parents to Tuberculosis or HIV. These guardians have the sole responsibility of overseeing the children’s well-being and education. Thanda will support these incredible women in implementing the Thanda ‘neighbourhood Learning at Home’ curriculums.
A critical benefit of the NIVEA “Care Beyond Skin” financial support, includes the provision of four fresh water access points in the community located near local schools. Water is not only a critical fundamental essential to sustain everyday life, but is also imperative to ensure first steps of prevention against the Covid-19 virus through washing of hands. Women regularly walk for four hours to access their nearest clean water supply, having to return carrying a heavy 25ℓ water drum back home.
Thanking the frontline medical staff
The Beiersdorf “Care Beyond Skin” program will also acknowledge and show appreciation to frontline medical staff across South Africa. More than 200,000 NIVEA Creme 400ml tins, 6,000 NIVEA sanitisers and 50,000 medical face masks and will be distributed to over 280 hospitals and clinics nationally with the support of United Way South Africa. Value Logistics have graciously partnered with Beiersdorf South Africa to manage and deliver all these donations at no charge.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to those who have selflessly served our communities in these difficult times, often putting themselves at personal risk, and working long hours under challenging conditions,” explains Douglas.
*2016 Community Survey and accessed through Wazimap.