Social investment to alleviate poverty is every corporate’s responsibility

It always warms my heart when I see that despite all the mayhem and chaos that large corporates can face, especially at times like those we recently endured through the COVID pandemic, there is still a place for our CSI initiatives. In a country where poverty is at such a high level and (when one thinks about it) where the poor are the ones who usually suffer the most when there is any kind of economic downturn, it is so important to maintain Corporate Social Investment. Perhaps for the unconvinced though, it should be explained why CSI is so important for South Africa and the corporates that provide it.

I like the way it is described by the Wot-If? Trust – “Corporate Social Investment (CSI) is about doing good in a meaningful way. It’s about being a good corporate citizen and demonstrating social responsibility – caring about issues that matter and supporting efforts that solve problems and challenges in society. An impactful CSI project should speak to the values of your organisation and should make a positive contribution to your brand. CSI is not about putting plasters on gaping wounds – your efforts need to achieve real change”.

Our CSI input 

I’m very proud to say that the BidTravel group is currently working on a cluster CSI initiative for this year which is a social initiative that will make reusable, sanitary towels for young ladies who are living in underprivileged areas. Sadly, and understandably, their lack of sanitary towels often keeps them out of school. The win-win is that the initiative is also supporting the seamstresses who are making these sanitary towels. These are the ladies living in these rural communities and the initiative provides them with much-needed wages to support their families and help their daughters and granddaughters to overcome their problems.

This is just one of the CSI and development programs we are constantly striving to provide and in my next article, I will talk about a development program with which we are currently involved and of which we are also very proud. We should never forget that it is the people who make up these rural communities whose lifestyle and culture we so proudly showcase as the South African travel and tourism industry and who so often assist in the preservation of our national heritage – our wildlife.

The solution to inequality lies in caring enough!

If there is ever to be a solution to poverty in this country it will emanate from the people who genuinely care enough to make it happen. I like a quote from the Author James Hauenstein who said, “During a crisis, you will find there are 3 types of people. First, there are people who will say, ‘I don’t care what happens to other people as long as it doesn’t affect me’. Second, there are people who will think, ‘How can I rip people off and make money off of this?’ Third, there are people who will ask, ‘How can I help?’”

Heaven forbid that any of us, no matter how insulated we may be in our ivory towers, will ever forget that it is every person in this country, regardless of their financial status, or lack of it, that has contributed to the building of this wonderful rainbow nation of ours. Let us be the individuals or businesses who not only help, but care enough for others to make our existence truly meaningful.LIDIA FOLLI



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