Bursary - Turning Bedsheets to School Shirts For Underprivileged Kids in South Africa!
Photo Cred: School Days

Five school shirts can be made from one king-size bed sheet, and over 100,000 have been gifted to underprivileged kids in South Africa!


Western Cape, South Africa (06 April 2022) – Winter is on the way, and a significant number of South African children go to school without uniforms and school shoes, but thanks to an initiative created in 2013, Danolene Johannesen and her team have dressed almost 100,000 kids using bedsheets!

Johannesen takes thousands of those bedsheets and brings them into her company’s sewing workshop to make the crisp white shirts that schoolchildren across South Africa are required to wear. From one king-sized bedsheet, they can make five shirts.

“We wanted to look at a way, how we keep our children in school, how we get them dressed for school, and how we just… boost their self-esteem,” Johannesen explains.

To date, approximately 1,000 bedsheets have been repurposed into 3,000 school shirts. This innovation led to R1.2 million being funded by the Marriott International Cape Town office, which enabled Johannessen to start Restore SA, a social enterprise employing local seamstresses and dedicating 40% of its profits to fund the Royal Kidz uniform project. Restore SA makes the school shirts for the programme, as well as other products for sale.

Turning Bed Sheets to School Shirts for Underprivileged Kids in South Africa!
Photo Cred: Sheets for Shirts

Johannessen says that since 2013, it’s been the Royal Kidz mission to restore dignity to our South African children who have had to present themselves at their schools without uniforms, and with broken, ill-fitting, and often no shoes.

“Every year, we do at least 10,000 shirts, and that is about 1,800 sheets that we cut up and make shirts from,” she said.

In these COVID times, Restore SA has also been producing masks from Marriott International hotel sheets and distributing them in disadvantaged communities were adhering to safety protocols has been most difficult and sometimes impossible.  This transformation of waste from the tourism and travel industry into tangible social benefits has opened doors for Johannessen, who has since secured funding from the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) to further develop her business and programmes.

Volker Heiden, Marriott International’s Area Vice President for Sub Saharan Africa, says, “It’s great to have a sustainable solution for our hotels’ bed sheets that also enables these children to feel self-confident in their school community.”

Sources: Danolene Johannessen
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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