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University of Free State: Thessa New Beginnings

Seeing Opportunity

A statistic in a SA Police Service report of 176 gender based violence cases reported daily in 2012. Research studies indicate that women often stay in physically or emotionally abusive abusive relationships for perceived financial security. To address this, the Bloemfontein, non-profit organisation, Towers of Hope established started a textile women’s social enterprise project, Thessa New Beginnings. This is aimed with helping empower women through: counselling, training in needlework and creating employment for women through their retail business.

Taking Action

Enactus University of Free State partnered with Towers of Hope to assist with the growth of the Thessa New Beginnings project. The objective was to improve skills levels and for the project to become a profitable social enterprise.

Focus areas to achieve this were: basic computer training, social media marketing, guidance on the business model and positioning, assisting with distribution of the produced textile items for conferences, the UFS nursing school and consignment agreements with gift shops.

Enabling Progress

This project is focused on addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of:
SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.

  • Part time employment was created for six women in addition to their skills development.
  • 52 jeans were re-purposed for the product development of the bags for sales.
  • The re-purposing of the jeans saved 200 00 litres of water and divert toxic waste from landfill sites for a more sustainable environment.
  • Another outcome of the project was a supplier agreement with UFS nursing school for the sales and distribution of student nurse stationary bags produced by Thessa New Beginnings.