As a company rooted in commitment to corporate responsibility, Balega has actively given back to communities in both South Africa and the United States for over a decade. Balega’s first and longest running charitable endeavor was the launch of the Lesedi project in 2003, a non-profit organization that has brought assistance to 300 disadvantaged students of the the Ethembeni School in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
Established in 1984, “Ethembeni” means “Place of Hope,” and the school serves as a safe haven for the region’s handicapped children. Through the help of generous retail partners, Balega has established several fundraising programs such as races and school projects. Each year, Balega donates a percentage of the gross revenue generated from the sale of its socks in select retail stores towards a scholarship fund for the children of Ethembeni.
The Ethembeni School is located on the route of the The Comrades Marathon, the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon. Spanning a distance of 56.1 miles between Pietermaritzburg and the coastal city of Durban, The Comrades Race will pass by Ethembeni on June 1st of this year. Children from the school create beadwork necklaces and bracelets which are sold at the expo of the Comrades marathon, and all proceeds go towards educational scholarships. The school only receives partial funding from the state and relies heavily on community support and private donations.
The first term just came to an end for students earlier this month, and in celebration the school hosted a Market Day where students showed off their entrepreneurship skills by selling all sorts of products, as well as Miss Ethembeni and Mr. Personality competitions.
“More than a passion for socks, we have a passion for community.”