Festival profits enrich the lives of rural women

Some music festivals are there to generate profits for wealthy corporate sponsors; others ensure their sustainability by giving back to those who really need. Few festivals prioritise giving back to the community as much as MTN Bushfire, taking place in Malkerns, Swaziland from 29-31 May.

Photo: www.bush-fire.com
Photo: www.bush-fire.com

The primary beneficiary of MTN Bushfire is Gone Rural boMake, a community development organisation founded by Gone Rural. Their water, health and education projects empower 10 000 women artisans and their communities. 100% of profits from sales of official MTN Bushfire merchandise are donated to Gone Rural boMake in support of their community development programmes, such as the Kutimela Project, which aims to empower and educate women in local communities. The project combines elements of business literacy, community banking and small business development to enable financial literacy and sustainable economic growth.

Now, with Bushfire just two weeks away, Gone Rural boMake invite attendees of Swaziland’s world music and arts festival to help support its Kutimela project and to ignite a collective response for positive social change. At this year, festival-goers will be able to purchase limited edition T-shirt designs in support of Gone Rural boMake. The new merchandise range will be available to purchase from the Gone Rural boMake stall at the entrance of the Handcraft and Design Marketplace at the festival. Music lovers are encouraged to show their support for Gone Rural boMake at MTN Bushfire this year by sharing photo’s on social media using the hashtag #WearYourFire.

In 2011, Gone Rural boMake became a beneficiary of MTN Bushfire, receiving 100% of profits from merchandise sales at the festival. To date Gone Rural boMake have received a total 265 000 Emalangeni (US$22 350) in profits, following sales of over 2000 items of official MTN Bushfire merchandise. Since 2013 the project has engaged over 5000 women and generated over R800 000 (US$67 600) in group savings. The project’s remarkable achievements have enabled 70% of these women to establish their own micro-businesses, fuelling the fire of creative freedom and financial sustainability for women throughout Swaziland. Building on the successful impact the project has had on local communities, by 2016 Gone Rural boMake aim to establish a formal rural community bank and increase the project to include over 7000 local women. For more details check out the Gone Rural boMake website or Facebook

Bushfire’s other main beneficiary is Young Heroes, which has received over R740 000 (US$62 600) from Bushfire and its partners since its inception. Young Heroes is Swaziland’s first internationally based initiative fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This programme was created in early 2006 to help the kingdom’s orphans by linking them with sponsors who provide funds for basic life necessities. The funding from Bushire provides food, clothing and warm blankets for winter as well as additional fees for school requirements (not covered by government aid schemes), medicine and other basic needs. Most importantly, this support helps the children feel secure in the knowledge that society cares about them and is involved in their lives.

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