Short description

The Clothing Bank provides business skills training to unemployed mothers and motivates them to become successful businesswomen.


In South Africa, women are less likely than men to receive formal schooling, but more likely to support dependants. Low levels of education and training deny many women access to decent employment opportunities. The low wages that they consequently receive mean that, as breadwinners, they cannot meet their families’ needs. As a result many women and their dependants remain trapped in poverty.

Skills development can offer women a path out of poverty, as well as empower them to challenge unfair gender relations. Financial self-sufficiency can give women greater autonomy within the home, enabling them to renegotiate household relationships.


The Clothing Bank was founded in 2010 to provide unemployed mothers with business training and empower them to become self-employed business owners.

The Clothing Bank has developed an innovative model to provide trainees with practical experience in trading and in running a small retail operation. The organisation receives donated surplus clothing from retailers in South Africa and uses this clothing as a tool to teach. The Clothing Bank sells the garments to the women at a discounted price and after applying an average of 100% mark-up, the women resell the clothing in their communities. In this way, trainees are able to learn the trade while generating a monthly income. Women are encouraged to trade within six weeks of starting the training and apply all of their learning in a real life environment.  They are provided with R500 credit in the form of clothing to get started, which they have to repay over five months.

The training programme runs over a two year period with an intake of 100 new women every year. It is based on a holistic model, aiming to simultaneously ensure the business as well as the personal and emotional wellbeing of the women. Training courses include financial skills, business skills, selling skills, merchandising, life skills, parenting skills, health and wellbeing. Together with an accredited training partner, the second year of training offers graduates NQF Level 4 accreditation. Only those women who show enough motivation and talent are offered the opportunity to do this leg of the programme.

The Clothing Bank also donates excess garments to registered non-profit organisations.  They currently support over 70 organisations Nationally, such as orphanages, old age homes, women’s shelters and homeless shelters, amongst others.  The Clothing Bank have branches in the Western cape, Gauteng, KZN and Eastern Cape.

What we like about this organisation

  • The organisation is assisting unemployed women to learn entrepreneurship and run their own businesses. The Clothing Bank is lead by a qualified managing team and has strong relations in the retail industry.

What difference can your money make?

  • R10 000 will pay for the training of one women over a year.
  • R250 000 will provide one year’s training to 25 women.
  • R750 000 will pay for the training of 75 women for one year.

Volunteering opportunities

  • Accredited life coaches