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Hanne’s Shelter

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (#IWD2016) is Pledge for Parity (#PledgeForParity) – the urgent call to action to accelerate gender pay. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.

Today, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Innovate Finance released a list of the 21 female founders and CEOs amongst our member companies. In addition, we have also launched the 2016 Women in FinTech Powerlist. Innovate Finance is accepting nominations from women who work in FinTech or nominations on behalf of female colleagues for a spot on the list which will be published later this year.

My personal opinion editorial published in City AM this morning outlines the need for improving the number of women in business and FinTech: getting girls interested early in school in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects; offering after-school / work development and mentoring programmes; delivering more flexible working practices to promote better work-life balance; and, attracting more women to tech investment roles to gain broader perspectives on risks and rewards.

In addition to this year’s pledge, and Innovate Finance’s focus on Women in FinTech, I would like to draw your attention to a women I doubt any of you have ever heard of, Hanne Løvlie.

Hanne Løvlie was 30 when she was killed on 22 July 2011 in Oslo when Anders Breuvik detonated a bomb in the city centre killing 8 people, before travelling to a small island 40 minutes away called Utoya, and executing 69 members of the Labour youth camp. It is the worst mass murder outside of war in history.

In memory of Hanne, her family contacted the charity I work for with a wish to build a shelter for abused women. Hanne spent time as a student in Durban, at the University of KwaZulu Natal, where she was an outgoing and politically engaged student. During her studies she became aware of the big issue of violence against women in South Africa and spoke often of her wish to do something about this issue.

At Impande, we build crèches and community development centres where we focus on children, women and the vulnerable in society in KwaZulu Natal. The statistics are grim with more than 60% of the population under 30 due to mortality related to HIV and drug abuse. 36% of women claim to have experienced gender based violence and the prevalence of violence against pregnant women by their partners is estimated at 31%.

Hanne’s Shelter will be formally opened in a ceremony held over 2 days on the 19th and 20th of March in Gcilima, a community with high levels of violence. This is one of the first social institutions of this type set up inside South Africa.

In memory of Hanne, her family has fulfilled her wish.

On behalf of myself, my charity mentor and the Chairman of Impande, Rolf Olsen, and the entire Impande team, I would like to dedicate an International Women’s Day tribute to Hanne Løvlie, and Hanne’s Shelter (#HannesShelter) and the security and future hope it offers to women in South Africa.

Lawrence Wintermeyer
Board Member, IMPANDE


Women who use their competence and find out what's needed

Nestled in Porsgrunn, Norway, you can find group of women who can sew – who love to sew – and who can make fantastic and intricate patchwork quilts and products. The driver behind this work is Ragnhild Augestad.

She got in touch with Impande and asked if there was someone who could use their products in the kindergartens Impande is building and running…

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It's cold in the highlands of Natal in winter

The temperature can dip below the freezing point in winter in many of the nurseries Impande supports in Southern Natal. These corrugated steel sheds are impossible to hold warm. Many of the youngest children need a little nap at midday when they lie on the concrete floor – well wrapped in clothes of different quality. Impande had a program in 2015 that helped with mattresses for the youngest about 20 of these kindergartens.

Blankets from the sewing club in Porsgrunn ensure that children stay warm, even on the coolest days. Moreover, these blankets are beautiful and stimulating. Some children get the opportunity to bring a blanket home once they've outgrown the kindergarten; it is both a good memory and gets well used. These Porsgrunn blankets are distributed by a local cooperative organization which continually maps the needs for both food and clothing of the 350 kindergartens found in UGU district.

Toilet bags for Hanne's Shelter

Hanne's Shelter is a centre for abused women. This centre will be completed in March 2016 and will open its doors from April 1st. It will house seven families at a time with up to 25 residents altogether.

When women and children are exposed to violence, they may likely arrive at Hanne's Shelter without suitcases, clothes, or other necessities. Now hold women in Porsgrunn are sewing together toilet bags for anyone who comes to Hanne's Shelter. Ragnihild Augestad will help procure supplies to fill these bags during her visit to the centre in March.


Started Fund-Raising On Facebook To Build A New Kindergarten

During their school hours at Oslo Handelsgymnasium (OHG), Thea A. Sorensen and Liv Maria Haugen started a school fund-raising project to raise funds for the construction of a school in Natal. They have also been involved in Impande's trips to Natal to see how the funds were used. Thea is now studying law at Oslo University (UiO), while Liv Maria is finishing up her last year at OHG.

Never forget their faces

During this tour Thea and Liv Maria also got the chance to visit a couple of Impande's kindergartens. The faces they met there have been difficult to forget. The faces of poor and neglected children made strong impressions on these women and prompted the question: What else can we do to help?

Started their own fund-raising campaign to build a new kindergarten

Thea and Liv Maria received their next project from Impande, Zimeleni pre-school which is home to 31 children. They use a shed made of corrugated steel in a remote and poor area in southern Natal.

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Thea and Liv Maria started their own fund-raising campaign on Facebook in October 2015. First they challenged their closest friends and family to contribute to the cause. For Christmas they asked for gifts to the Zimeleni project instead of gifts for themselves. And finally, they appealed to a NOK 5 coin-rolling campaign on their school's Facebook page. The VIPPS smartphone app has been used frequently during this campaign. There has been meaningful action, they say, but the anxiety of not succeeding has been following them as well.

On January 1, 2016, Thea and Liv Maria wrote the following on their Facebook page: “It's a wonderful feeling to now be able to say that we have collected enough funds to build Zimeleni kindergarten! Last night the remaining funds arrived in our account, and we have now collected a grand total of NOK 30,000 (£ 2,400).

The kindergarten is now being built and will be finished construction later in the spring.

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Zimeleni kindergarten is being constructed by a local contractor with a great joint effort by the parents and unemployed locals at the grassroots. Thea and Liv Maria's funds cover the costs for the necessary building materials. Moreover, play structures will be installed outside the kindergarten when the building is finished. This is how Impande works. By mobilising people at the grassroots to build up their own communities, you can achieve a great deal with only limited funds.

A group women from Skien has also made blankets for the children. It can be very cold in the highlands of South Africa in the winter.

Now it's your turn!

Will you take the challenge and build a kindergarten?

Impande has identified approximately 50 other shacks which are currently serving as kindergartens in the Ugu district. Your efforts are very much appreciated and welcome!

Thea and Liv Maria raised £ 2,400 for an entire kindergarten through their Facebook page. Others have raised funds for a whole kindergarten in conjunction with birthday celebrations, jubilees, and other life events.

Now it's your turn! Please contact Impande's leader, Rolf Olsen at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He will send you an info package for a kindergarten which needs your support!


Msenti Academy - A place that sets challenging goals for youth and sees amazing results

From January 2016 Msenti Group moved into its  new centre in Munster. The centre was formally opened just before Christmas 2015, with 350 locals in attendance.

This centre is equipped and upgraded thanks to a donation from Gresvig Sports. The Msenti youth themselves made the effort to prepare the new centre for opening. For two years Impande has worked to get the municipality to rent out an unused “white elephant” building for this purpose. The centre will function as a multi-functional youth centre with the goal of providing 250 young people support and expertise in various areas of their lives.

Msenti Academies satsningsområder

  • Volleyball
  • Theater and poetry
  • Life Skills
  • Zulu dance, Setswana- & Contemporary dance
  • Choir
  • Social work for the poorest in the district

The Driving Force Behind the Centre

jacaAfrica is a land filled with enthusiasm – and often to a greater extent than in Norway. In Munster district we met a teacher named Jaca. He is an ardent soul dedicated to providing youth improved attitudes, skills and a better future. Seventy youngsters have come to his home 3-4 times a week throughout the past six years to train in dance, theater and sports. Jaca has set high standards for the training, way of life and schoolwork towards the involved young people. Msenti Group has won awards at local and regional cultural festivals and is regularly enlisted by public and private companies when something needs to be celebrated or marked.