Heart of @home is an @home initiative that combines our passion for the home with our commitment to helping build better communities.
Launched in 2017 as the result of an extensive engagement process with all @home employees to establish how they believed they could do more in the communities they served. The result of that collaborative process was very powerful.
“What we heard from our employees was that they have a sense of urgency in wanting to help and respect the hardships that too many of our fellow citizens are facing, and to be involved in practical ways to help improve their circumstances.” Chris Swart, Head of @home
The values that underpin the Heart of @home initiatives are the same @home corporate values: Respect, Urgency, Love of Learning, Empathy and Dignity.
Through Heart of @home we want to help to give and treat people with dignity and empathy; we want to respect the hardships that many of our fellow citizens are facing; we want to learn how we can help improve their situations; and we want to attack the task with dignity.
Helping build better homes
One of the resulting projects is the annual support of Habitat for Humanity South Africa, an initiative which works with communities to identify needs for housing, and then in turn partners with corporations and volunteers to help families build their homes.
Our Johannesburg team took part in the Mandela Day 2018, 100 Homes for 100 Families build. Watch the video here >
“Habitat for Humanity SA was selected as a Heart of @home beneficiary because of the impact they have in communities and the values they hold. What they do and what we do resonates, albeit on different ends of the scale. We’re also in the business of helping South Africans create homes. It gave our team members an opportunity to be active participants in building a home for a family,”
Swart concludes: “It’s been powerful and very humbling for our teams to witness how a healthy community and the provision of adequate shelter can be in creating a sense of dignity and in breaking the chains of poverty. It is about more than just building houses. It is about building homes and empowering individuals and families by helping them to sustain an economic future. Our teams feel encouraged because they are part of a process which helps create a sense of dignity for the individuals, families and communities who benefit from Heart of @home.”
Gifts that give back
We wanted to create gifts for our customers so they could also give something back. Working closely with local supplier, Charisma Candles, we developed a range of heartfelt gifts including lip balms, hand creams and scented drawer sachets, each with an inspirational message, chosen to put a smile on the face of the receiver. The result is a beautiful product that not only uplifts a local manufacturer and the end consumer, but also gives back towards funding more community development – truly a gift that gives back. These gifts are currently on sale from @home stores and online and R10 from each purchase goes towards Heart of @home funded initiatives.
More Heart of @home initiatives
Other initiatives supported by Heart of @home since launching included extensive support of the Knysna fire relief efforts, as well the skills development project, Hands of Hope in Cape Town, which supports female former inmates on parole with skills development and employment opportunities. The handmade picnic cooler bags made by these women were sold at @home stores.