> THE #RAREBEARPROJECT

THERE ARE SOME PROJECTS THAT YOU’LL WORK ON IN YOUR LIFETIME THAT MAKE POSITIVE CHANGE IN OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES – BY UPLIFTING, EMPOWERING AND EDUCATING. AND THEN THERE ARE THOSE THAT, SIMPLY BY THEIR NATURE, INEXPLICABLY CHANGE YOUR OWN LIFE FOREVER. WHEN YOUR PASSION BECOMES YOUR PURPOSE AND YOUR CAREER YOUR CALLING

Introducing the Rare Bear Project
The Rare Bear Project was established in 2015 by Rare Diseases South Africa (RDSA). A registered NPO and PBO which aims to advocate for and assist those living with rare and congenital disorders to receive access to life-saving treatment and supportive care for improved quality of life.

Many rare conditions require frequent hospitalisation – often for extended periods of time – with a large percentage of patients being paediatrics and minors. RDSA decided to commission companion bears for newly registered patients which would be gifted to them as a source of comfort and encouragement throughout their rare disease journey. The only premise – to find bears unlike any others – that accurately reflected the unique, one-of-a-kind individuals whom we represented. Bears that were RARE.

At the same time a local community project were looking to host a skills clinic for unemployed ladies within the Kya Sands community. The timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous and the rest, as they say, is history.

Impact of the Rare Bear Project
To date, this project has seen over 60 women upskilled in the art of crocheting, and provided them with a sustainable revenue source.

The Rare Bears are handmade which, simply by the nature of it, means that each is unique in appearance. Where others saw design flaws, RDSA celebrated beauty in difference.

The impact of the Rare Bear Project is threefold:
a. Creation of a “community of love” for Rare Diseases SA patients whereby #RareBears are bought and donated to rare disease patients via the #Care4Rare programme.
b. Upskilling and empowering the ladies of KyaSands, providing them with a skill, platform and opportunity to become self employed and enable them to provide for their families on an on-going basis.
c. Generating income which is reinvested in the program to ensure longevity for the benefit of both the patients and the makers. For every donation received, 2/3 is paid to the creator of the bear, and 1/3 is placed into improving the marketing platform and distribution of the overall project to ensure long-term sustainability.

Inevitably, the project is all about supporting and uplifting our community. By supporting the Rare Bear Project through the purchase or donation of a bear, you not only bring hope and happiness to a #RareWarrior, but to a community of women, sisters and mothers whose futures may otherwise have been significantly bleaker.

RARE BEAR PROJECT

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