BY: Jamil Khan
JOHANNESBURG – March 2013 realized the long awaited visit of United Colors of Fashion (UCOF) to South Africa. The annual charity trip, which lasted from March 6th – 13th, will be engraved in our minds and hearts forever.
The trip served as a dual-purpose visit, due to the coincidental merger of our Charity Care and Fashion Education programs, taking us to the humility of Soweto and the flamboyance of Joburg Fashion Week.
Our Achiever of The Year, Sade Solomon, and our President, Ciano Clerjuste took all the wonderful work UCOF has done in the last year and presented it to South Africa in the true sense of Fashion For Humanity. Sade visited South Africa for the first time, where she underwent a rigorous training program under the guidance of David Tlale, Shaldon Kopman (Naked Ape) and Jan Malan (Umzingeli Productions). She was introduced first hand to the workings of the South African fashion industry, working backstage at the shows of prima designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg. She also learned how to produce and market a fashion show under the guidance of world-renowned show producer Jan Malan.
“I count it as an honor and a blessing to have been voted “Achiever of the Year” by UCOF, and given the opportunity to travel to South Africa. Travel to another country to diversify my knowledge of the fashion industry is an experience of a lifetime. Anything is possible when one has faith,” she said.
The culmination of our third Charity Care cycle saw the UCOF team and ambassadors shower the children of Mapetla Day Care with love and gifts. The day care center is affiliated to Soweto Hospice, which cares for people with HIV/AIDS.The team arranged a party for the children on March 11th, where they spent quality time and had hours of fun with delicious food, drinks and party favors.
The aim of the lunch party was however not just about frivolity, but also the delivery of a much-needed promise. UCOF delivered to each child; clothes, school supplies, food, educational toys and sanitary items to take home. In addition the money that was raised for this trip was handed over to the hospice to fund their amazing work and keep the children cared for.
The teachers at the center also received gifts for on the day, to thank them for all the wonderful work they do by investing in the futures of the children.
The trip in its entirety brought together the respective missions of UCOF in a magical way. Our aim to help under-resourced New York youth with internship opportunities in the fashion industry and our mission to bring hope to people with HIV/AIDS, paralysis and sickle cell anemia manifested in the beauty of so many generous hearts and dedicated donors.
UCOF is once again so grateful to every single contributor to our mission. Your goodness has kept a child smiling for another year and instilled hope in their hearts.
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them. – Dalai Lama
Jamil Khan is a Psychology graduate from Stellenbosch University with a keen interest in fashion, social upliftment and research. He is a United Colors Of Fashion press intern and lifestyle writer for The New Age Newspaper, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.