TJX Europe’s community programs aim to create a lasting, positive impact in the communities we serve by helping vulnerable children and young people achieve their potential. Since 2004, T.K. Maxx in the U.K., together with our customers, has raised millions for Cancer Research U.K., which is dedicated to the research, prevention and treatment of children’s cancers. Our support includes our “Give Up Clothes for Good” campaign, the U.K.’s biggest clothing donation program. This initiative allows people to drop off their high-quality, used clothes, accessories and homeware at our stores for donation to Cancer Research U.K. The items are then sold at Cancer Research U.K. thrift shops to raise funds. With Associates and customers donating enough bags of clothing to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2015, together we’ve been able to support Cancer Research U.K. in such a significant way that T.K. Maxx is now the largest corporate funder of children’s cancer research in the U.K.
We are equally proud of our partnership with Comic Relief, a charity that helps children and families impacted by poverty and social injustice in the U.K. and Africa. Since 2005, our Associates and customers have raised significant funds for Comic Relief U.K.’s much-loved fundraising campaign, Red Nose Day. As the official t-shirt retailer for the campaign, T.K. Maxx U.K. is proud to work with well-known designers and celebrities to develop and market cotton t-shirts currently being made of 100% African Fair Trade cotton. Through our combined efforts, we have raised significant funds for Comic Relief over the years.
Our T.K. Maxx stores in other geographies support organizations about which they are passionate. In Ireland, through a local “Give Up Clothes for Good” program, we’ve raised significant funds for our partner, Enable Ireland, which helps empower children, adults and families living with disabilities. In Germany, we support Children for a Better World, a charity that provides children with healthy food and school lunches so that they can focus on their school work, thereby helping them to achieve their full potential. Since 2010, our fundraising efforts and sales of Bags for Life and Christmas products and cards have provided funding through this organization for approximately 250,000 meals for disadvantaged children. In 2014, T.K. Maxx in Poland began supporting the Academy of the Future, a program run by Stowarzyszenie Wiosna, a national children’s education charity that provides one-on-one mentoring and educational support to over 1,800 disadvantaged children. The first year of this partnership was a big success, with sales from Christmas merchandise and our Bags for Life benefitting the Academy of the Future.
Our HomeSense stores in the U.K. partner with local Action for Children projects, which work to help disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people through approximately 50 local programs in our stores’ communities. HomeSense and its customers have raised significant funds since 2010 through in-store fundraising and our “Hang a Bauble” campaign at Christmas.
At the corporate level, TJX Europe has been working in 12 communities in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda to help send children to school since 2008. Initially, TJX Europe worked with Save the Children to build classrooms and teachers’ houses, and supply educational materials and clean water and toilets. We are pleased to report that to date we have funded approximately 20 new classrooms, 500 desks, 3,000 textbooks, box loads of solar lamps and other materials, fresh safe water and latrines. We have also invested in teacher training. At the time our program began, 53% of the children in the Rwenzori region were able to attend school. Enrollment has risen to 94%, with over 10,000 children in 12 communities now able to attend primary school.
In 2011, we furthered our commitment in western Uganda by developing a sustainable trade program, working with 6,000 families, to help enable parents to increase their family incomes.
We have supported the production and sale of coffee, cocoa, cotton and crafts, and we sell coffee and crafts produced in that region in our stores. We also help parent producers to form co-operatives and to build relationships with commercial and development partners, which has led to better and higher-quality yields. These, combined with trading regularly, give parents a more reliable and increased income stream, allowing them to save for school fees and materials.
Cotton and cocoa co-operatives have been Fairtrade certified, helping the co-operatives achieve fairer pricing and access to international markets. Farmers now earn approximately 20% more for their coffee crop. We believe our support is making a difference. Since the Rwenzori Trade Project started in 2011, there has been a 40% increase in children completing their primary school education.
View a video to learn more about of efforts in Uganda.