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IRAS IS A SHARED VALUE ORGANISATION

MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT

A SHARED VALUE ORGANISATION

MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT

At the very outset, when IRAS first began, the term “Shared Value Organisation” was not the buzz word it is today, nor was it so broadly misunderstood as it currently is.

With a (unofficial)national unemployment rate currently hovering around 34% (the “official rate”, compared to an “unofficial rate” of over 42% as of April 2023), and so many people suffering the effects of unsustainable price increases linked to ongoing global supply chain challenges and high oil prices. Despite what many JSE listed companies believe, Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and/or Socioeconomic Development (SED) Spend is NOT “shared value”. While CSI/SED can lead to “shared benefit”, the actual concept of shared value can only truly exist within companies that, at their core, have been designed and developed to address one or more social (e.g., health, education, poverty alleviation, etc.) and/or environmental need. 

From the outset, back in 2009, the principle aim of the company was to act as a means to a more important socioeconomic ends: to generate income that would allow us to invest up to 10% of our Total Revenue in projects that benefit those less fortunate than ourselves, and never has this been more important than now in this post-COVID-19 world we live in.

With a national unemployment rate currently hovering around 42% (July 2023), and so many people suffering the effects of unsustainable price increases linked to supply chain interruptions and the rise in global oil prices, we believe that the value IRAS creates should never be limited to the financial success of our company owners and/or employees. We therefore invest extremely heavily in ongoing Research & Development, to a level often exceeding 33% of our total revenue, while maintaining charge-out rates that continue to be considered ‘lowest among peers’ (thus passing along benefit to our clients), all while investing in the following initiatives.

SIYATHUTHUKA KHALOKHAZI ZULU BASKETS

Prior to the COVID crisis of 2020 to 2022, our objective was to provide income guarantees of R500 per team member per month to basket weavers within our Siyathuthuka Khalokazi Zulu Baskets (KSZB) project in deep rural KZN, while providing access to customers in Johannesburg who would buy their products. Due to the lack of tourists coming to South Africa during the pandemic, coupled with significantly less street trade in Johannesburg, the market for arts and crafts collapsed, shifting our focus to food security.

Starting in September 2020, IRAS helped develop a 2 500 m2 garden that has already resulted in harvests shared by the ladies within our project, two local primary schools, and a local church (to assist others in their community).

MY WALK SHOES

In 2022, IRAS added a new element to our involvement in Hlabisa: the provision of school shoes to every single primary school learner in Hlabisa by no later than the end of 2023. Starting in July 2023, IRAS began delivering more than 3 000 pairs to schools throughout South Africa, including primary schools and special needs schools.

This project is particularly exciting for IRAS to be part of, as we’re able to link up with the team at MyWalk, a project started by Adcock Ingram and Netcare to recycle used IV Drip bags, cleverly linking social development to environmental responsibility. At a cost of R35 per pair, IRAS has been able to not only put shoes on hundreds of children’s feet, but to share our experience with other companies and like-minded individuals who are already pledging to purchase and donate shoes in their own impacted communities.

Our goal for the July 2023 to June 2024 period is to donate an additional 4 000 pairs of shoes, while ensuring that our contribution is matched by our many stakeholders.

For more information about MyWalk go to News (netcare.co.za) or email Delanie Bezuidenhout Delanie.Bezuidenhout@adcock.com.

SIYATHUTHUKA KHALOKHAZI ZULU BASKETS

Prior to the COVID crisis of 2020 to 2022, our objective was to provide income guarantees of R500 per team member per month to basket weavers within our Siyathuthuka Khalokazi Zulu Baskets (KSZB) project in deep rural KZN, while providing access to customers in Johannesburg who would buy their products. Due to the lack of tourists coming to South Africa during the pandemic, coupled with significantly less street trade in Johannesburg, the market for arts and crafts collapsed, shifting our focus to food security.

Starting in September 2020, IRAS helped develop a 2 500 m2 garden that has already resulted in harvests shared by the ladies within our project, two local primary schools, and a local church (to assist others in their community).

As of March 2023, we have begun the construction of new buildings at our base of operation in Khalokhazi. One will be what we respectfully call a “Shit & Shower Shack”, where the ladies will have access to not only a proper toilet (rather than the current pit latrine), but also a shower, where they will be able to enjoy warm showers at the end of a day working in the food garden.  The other building will be a new bedroom and lounge for Sarah and her husband Alsom due to the currently unsafe structure of parts of their existing home, noting that the current building is frequently used for KSZB project meetings.

Our primary goal for 2024 will be to construct a 60m2 self-catering cottage to encourage tourists to experience life in a rural African village setting, creating what we hope will be a sustainable source of income to support the baskets and food elements of our project.

MY WALK SHOES

In 2022, IRAS added a new element to our involvement in Hlabisa: the provision of school shoes to every single primary school learner in Hlabisa by no later than the end of 2023. As of July 2023, IRAS has delivered more than 2 300 pairs to Hlabisa area schools, including two primary schools and one special needs residential school. We have also donated more than 700 pairs of shoes to two flood-affected primary school learners in Stanger, a small town closer to Durban.

This project is particularly exciting for IRAS to be part of, as we’re able to link up with the team at MyWalk, a project started by Adcock Ingram and Netcare to recycle used IV Drip bags, cleverly linking social development to environmental responsibility. At a cost of R35 per pair, IRAS has been able to not only put shoes on hundreds of children’s feet, but to share our experience with other companies and like-minded individuals who are already pledging to purchase and donate shoes in their own impacted communities.

Our goal for the July 2023 to June 2022 period is to donate an additional 4 000 pairs of shoes, while ensuring that our contribution is matched by our many stakeholders.

For more information about MyWalk go to News (netcare.co.za) or email Delanie Bezuidenhout Delanie.Bezuidenhout@adcock.com.

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