And in those 22 years, South Africa’s biggest community loyalty programme has raised over R650 million. That is a staggering amount of money - with every cent being put towards a good cause.
When the programme was founded towards the end of 1997, only R1 971 was raised. The following year was the company’s first full calendar year and South Africans who signed up to the programme managed to raise R13 265. Over the years, that number has increased in leaps and bounds, with 2018 closing on R84 872 648 in funds raised.
The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet community loyalty programme was established by two parents of school-going children in 1997 with a simple goal - to raise funds for the school in an easy and sustainable manner. Over the next few years, word spread about this programme, and soon there were other schools wanting to use it as a loyalty tool and a way to raise some much-needed funds, and Woolworths signed up in 1999 as the programme’s main partner, and then went on to acquire the programme and make it part of  Woolworths SA.
When  the programme started, it solely focused on providing individuals with the opportunity to support their local school every time they shopped, but expanded to assist “Villages” and “Planets” around 2007 due to the vast and growing need in South Africa, hence the programme is now called MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet. Under the “MyVillage” banner, the programme supports organisations that assist in providing vital services and care to various communities around South Africa. The “MyPlanet” arm of the programme is essential in providing resources and aid to organisations  that care for and look out for our environment and the animals in our country.
Today there are 8 293 beneficiaries spread across MySchool, MyVillage and MyPlanet - each one benefitting from every swipe of a card. Over the years, many beneficiaries have expressed their gratitude for MySchool MyVillage My Planet. One of these beneficiaries is Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, along with their radio station, RX Radio.
“RX Radio is very appreciative of the support received from MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet over the years, especially for our Youth Music Festival fundraiser, "says Lwazi Volsak, the Project Officer of RX Radio. "MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet donated funds for t-shirts to be worn by child patients from Red Cross Children's Hospital for the festival."
Other beneficiaries include a number of ECD Centres that have been able to use the funds towards various upgrades at their facilities, which means that the kids at theses educares receive a better quality of education. Supporters of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme have also ensured that beneficiaries such as the SPCA, the NSRI and many more continue to receive funds that they so desperately need in order to carry out their amazing work.
Pieter Twine General Manager of the Woolworths Education Programme and MySchool MyVillage My Planet fundraising programme, Ruwaida Kader, Neo Sediti Director of the National Schools Nutrition Programme and celebrity guest speaker Jo-Ann Strauss. For 22 years MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has been helping South Africans make their contribution towards schools and various organisations across the country.
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, having noticed the various issues that plague South Africa, has also set up its own core funds with a very clear goal in mind, strategic CSI. What this means is at its core is corporate social investment that has significant developmental impact, as well as a positive impact on business, beyond reputation. This is why the The Thuso Fund for Schools and Charities was created. It supports under-resourced schools and charities across South Africa. Examples of support include stationery donations, training for teachers, improved security, libraries and library books, financial assistance with projects and equipment and more. When it comes to charities, the fund supports charities that care for people, animals and the environment through donations of items such as hearing aids, visual aids for the blind, funding cleft palate surgeries, animal welfare improvements, donations towards conservation of endangered animals, youth development initiatives, lap desks for schools without desks, and donations towards charities that work with street children.
Another fund is the MyPlanet Rhino Fund which was started in 2010, raising a meagre R30 in the first month. But today over 54 000 MyPlanet Rhino Fund supporters are helping to give back over R250 000 per month towards rhino conservation, protection and rehabilitation.
For 22 years MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has been helping South Africans make their contribution towards schools and various organisations across the country. Video: Supplied.
The third is the Dream2Teach fund - a teaching scholarship programme for talented individuals who dream of becoming teachers. MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet believes that by helping to grow more quality teachers in South Africa, it will help shape the people who teach and lead their communities, learners and fellow teachers. Beneficiaries of the Dream2Teach fund receive long-term scholarships, personalised support to achieve future goals, partnerships with quality educational institutions and access to Scholar Support Unit to assist with learning.
“We are very passionate about the work that we do,” says Pieter Twine, General Manager of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet. “We are delighted that, together with our supporters, we have been able to provide funding and supplies to organisations that need it the most for 22 years. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and it’s all thanks to active citizens who want to make a positive difference in our country.”
All of this would not be possible without those South Africans who have signed up to South Africa's favourite community loyalty programme and have dutifully swiped whenever possible. There are well over 1 million active supporters who can be proud of the contribution that they continue to make, 22 years on.