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Chocolatiers think outside the box to help empower women

A collaboration between South Africa’s first bean-to-bar chocolate factory and a recycling craft company are producing more than just chocolate and packaging. Social entrepreneurs, Antonino Allegra of CocoaFair and Lynn Worsley of All Women Recycling (AWR) are giving the public a work of art which is in turn, giving women who have been unemployed for longer than two years the opportunity to upskill and advance in life.

When Italian-born Allegra and Danish-born cofounder, Thor Thorøe, came to South Africa, their intention was to start a social enterprise. So when their Norwegian interns, came across the women of AWR, the duo decided to support them by comissioning boxes to house their chocolates.

Allegra soon found that customers were happy to pay a bit more if it meant supporting a good cause. “We always think people’s reaction will be, ‘it’s too expensive’ or ‘why should I?’, but when you explain what it is, people embrace it and support it in a very good way”.

The kliketyklikboxes™ are made from “upcycled” (using a recycled product to create something new) two litre plastic cool drink bottles, many of which come from Worsley’s sons’ recycling company.

Worsley who first started with 22 ladies, now has a team of 70 women who make 500 ‘eco-friendly’ boxes daily, and earn fair-trade salaries. Many have gone on to university or found more skilled jobs as a result of their experience at AWR and the English only environment.

“It’s nice to see them develop within. A lot of the women…couldn’t share or talk because they were so scared of being put down all the time. Now they can speak for themselves. That’s one of the main reasons we do this. We want to see them growing and learning a lot of other skills,” said Worsley.

“I learn so many things here like how to treat customers, respect for co-workers and to work in a team. To me it is not just a job, it’s my everything,” said Ntombi, who preferred not to giver her last name.

Allegra adds, ”The more we sell, the more they are going to need people to work. This way we can create jobs and help in a profitable and sustainable way for us (CocoaFair) and their company (AWR).”

All you have to do is think outside the box.

To buy chocolate packed with Klikety Klik Boxes, visit CocoaFair at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Cape Town or www.cocoafair.com
To order boxes for your business visit http://www.allwomenrecycling.com
To donate two litre cool drink plastic bottles, contact Lynn Worsley

Image 1: Lynn Worsley, founder of All Women Recycling
Image 2: Antonino Allegra, head chocolatier of CocoaFair
Image 3: Making boxes at All Women Recycling (AWR)
Image 4: The Klikety Klik Box

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