By Nadia Cassim

When six powerful female entrepreneurs come together with an intention to do good, incredible things happen…

The Grey Foundation began with a simple intention- to give back to the community and to provide basic needs for the underprivileged living in rural and underdeveloped areas with a special focus on vulnerable women and children. Alexandra Township, north of Johannesburg, was earmarked as the area of choice. The foundation explains that its initial focus was on the elderly who depend on hand-outs and donations to survive. However, after working in the area for some time the founding members became aware of an even greater need- to provide school-going girls with sanitary pads.

“…to our surprise we discovered that such a basic item was not available to young girls, but we found condoms in all government schools freely available,” the foundation explains.  Once this need was identified, The Grey Foundation was formally established. With the necessary steps taken to ensure the foundation was operating as a fully certified and accredited institution, the women behind the vision were able to put the necessary structures in place to carry through their vision and objectives.

The foundation explains their core objective as providing “a consistent long-term quality solution that is deployed with structure and co-ordination in a steady impactful way”. Furthermore, it provides “education on hygiene and menstruation to all the school girls taken on through the foundation so that they will not only gain the support of a much needed item each month, but the knowledge of how to take care of and understand their bodies as well as discard their products with respect to the environment and those around them”

With over 100 000 school-going girls (nationally) unable to attend school because of a lack of access to sanitary pads, the foundation believes that the enormity of this problem cannot be ignored and that in order to address the situation effectively both business, corporates and individuals will need to come together to create a ‘village of support’ to ensure a consistent supply of sanitary pads to young girls. The foundation approaches potential stakeholders and introduces them to the program, encouraging them to take on girls consistently through their CSR initiatives. Teaming up with ABSA Corporate and Investment Banking as well as a number of businesses in their own network, the foundation has grown from strength to strength in a short span of time. “The power of businesses behind the upliftment of communities is priceless and helps create and grow the awareness of a situation that needs our country’s attention,” they explain.

Another successful way the foundation encourages participation in their program is through their much-loved paid attendance event- Fitness for Cause- which enables the public and corporate sphere to come together and have fun whilst raising funds. With the money raised, more girl children are signed on.

When asked about the way forward in 2020, the foundation has made it clear that consistent support by the public, businesses and corporates are pivotal in ensuring that their goal towards a consistent provision of sanitary pads is achieved. They have two ‘Fitness for a Cause’ events planned as well as a global event which will only be made possible with the right calibre of sponsors. Currently, the foundation sponsors over 600 learners with sanitary pads each month for the duration of their schooling career. Their aim in 2020 is to reach 3000 additional learners. To get in touch with The Grey Foundation, email or follow them on Instagram @foundationthegrey.