Willowton Group has donated over 750,000 bars of soap – worth around R5-million – to young learners and selected old-age homes and frail care centres across the country to promote good hand hygiene and help play a role in curbing the spread of the Coronavirus.
Partnering with Willowton is Pick n Pay, who will help distribute the soaps through their School Club network – a public-private education platform that reaches over two million learners a year.
The President, in his speech to the nation on 15 March, emphasized the need for good hand hygiene as an effective prevention. UNICEF states that “during a global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.”
Over 600 schools will receive a bar of soap for each learner. The schools will also receive a printed poster – in English and Zulu – to show learners how to wash their hands properly. These posters will be placed throughout the schools as a visual reminder to learners.
David Sweidan, Willowton Group Marketing Executive, says that through this campaign they want to assist in educating communities on the right way to wash their hands. “Not all families have access to this information, either because they are located in remote areas or communication isn’t in their home language.”
Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Transformation Director at Pick n Pay, says she was thrilled that Willowton agreed to partner with Pick n Pay to distribute, as widely as possible, a much-needed commodity what would help, albeit in a small way, curb the spread of the deadly virus.
“We worked closely with our independent Market Store owners to help identify schools in their area that would most benefit. Many of these store owners have already started engaging with their customers on this issue, and their close relationship with their customers means we can effectively distribute these soap bars to those who really need them.”
All Pick n Pay stores have placed good hand hygiene posters in their stores and will distribute leaflets to stores for increased awareness amongst customers.
Just over half the soap donation – 392,040 bars – will be delivered in Gauteng, 180,000 soap bars will be donated to KwaZulu-Natal schools and 174,120 soap bars have been allocated to the Western Cape, and parts of the Eastern Cape.
The schools began receiving donations yesterday ahead of school closures and the Pick n Pay School Club programme will continue to handle the distribution of donations to communities in the weeks to follow.
Apart from the identified schools, pallets of soap have also been earmarked for old age homes and frail care centres in need. The Department of Basic Education Tshwane District has begun collecting their soap allocation (75,000) to distribute to schools in this district.
“Willowton Group’s vision and mission is centred around people, community and social upliftment. It is not only our passion but our duty to assist those in need, so we reacted quickly to play our part in combatting the virus,” says Sweidan.
“In challenging times, we will always take whatever steps we can to help and support those who are most vulnerable. By partnering with suppliers, like Willowton, we can make a real difference in times of need,” concludes Ackerman-Berman.