Maria Grewar

The Retrade Project

What does your company do?

The Retrade Project is a community-based recycling and social empowerment project which seeks to sustainably provide its members and the community with an opportunity to be environmentally responsible while gaining access to food or basic essentials. The Retrade Project has vision to provide underprivileged communities with an opportunity to be environmentally aware and access resources to fulfil their basic human needs while still maintaining the human worth and dignity within each person. As a social worker by profession, I would like to motivate The Retrade Project as a group of hard working entrepreneurs within the community who have done outstanding work for the benefit of environmental conservation and environmental education over the last 5 years. The ReTrade Project began, operating on nothing but donations from the local community but has grown into a functioning business with great potential for growth and expansion. The aim of the project is to allow community members to exchange goods and to promote the idea that bartering is not dead but fully alive and capable of restoring dignity, promoting good work ethic and helping others with a hand-up in life rather than a hand-out. The ReTrade Project has vision to provide underprivileged communities with an opportunity to be environmentally aware and access resources to fulfil their basic human needs while still maintaining the human worth and dignity within each person. Our purpose is two-fold: 1 ) ENVIRONMENTAL; to create awareness regarding the environmental crisis. We strive to do this by educating communities in eco-sustainability and contributing to the restoration of the environment though public recycling depots 2) SOCIAL; To assist disadvantaged individuals who need aid in providing basic human needs, by supplying a ‘value-for-value’ system though the exchange of recyclable goods for basic essentials such as food, toiletries/clothing.

What is your biggest success?

With so many achievements to celebrate over the years, Our fabulous and committed team of staff and volunteers who selflessly have donated their time and energy each week to assist our traders and community members. as well as We have had a good turnover with old and new traders – many of whom find work in between informally trading with us to help fill the gap. Last year alone we recycled and saved approximately 11 tonnes from the tips of Port Elizabeth. Our long term aim is to use the relief efforts to generate new traders and beneficiaries who can access food sustainably through our recycling programme. We see this time as a valuable opportunity to continue our dual mission towards living responsibly while helping those in need. We have seen this excellence be rewarded through the following: 2018 TOPCO Awards Runner Up for Youth Empowerment Organisation of the Year 2020 PETCO Finalist

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Our biggest hurdle includes, ensuring financial sustainability to keep trading store stocked and ensure management of recycling depo. This hurdle is part of our ongoing drive to maintain our orgnakzaitons business model while still making a meaningful impact. Increased recycling is part of our strategy towards maintaining our business and social impact.

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