Amarula Cream and the Amarula Trust

Have you ever looked at the golden tassel that encircles the neck of every bottle of Amarula Cream? Not just an eye-catching feature of the easy-to-recognise pack, it’s also a much-needed source of income to women who would otherwise be unemployed.
 
The innovative women’s job-creation project, begun in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village ten years ago and has recently been extended to two other communities. Now groups of women in nearby Macassar and Nomzamo are also threading, knotting and brushing out the golden braided tassels to supply to the producers of Amarula Cream.
 
The project assists women to put food on the table, pay their children’s school fees and send money home to their families in the Eastern Cape.
 
The popular brand, sold in more than 100 countries and recently voted one of the most requested brands in a UK-run global survey of top style bars worldwide, is produced in a range of bottle sizes and they all sport the distinctive golden tassel.
 
The initiative is supported by the not-for-profit Amarula Trust, founded to sustain communities and promote environmental conservation. It is run by Toni Rimell, who established the project to empower women, in 2003.
 
She identifies and commissions the communities involved, with currently around 70 women employed.
 
They are paid per tassel produced, giving them the flexibility to work according to their own schedules. Each one produces an average of 1 000 tassels a day.
 
Rimell says that in each of the three communities, one centrally located home has been designated to host a team of women. This means they can easily walk to work and don’t have to spend time commuting or money on transport.
 
“Even with recent cost of living increases, some of the women are able to put aside money for those needier than they are.  With mentoring in how to manage their money, they  have been able to achieve more.  Some have even been able to pay for extensions or alterations to their family homes. This work gives them a sense of value and a reason for optimism.”
 
Siobhan Thompson, the global spokesperson for Amarula Cream and the Amarula Trust, says the tassels are a modest but also effective way of enhancing the lives of otherwise marginalised rural communities. “We also support the women who harvest the marula fruit across 25 villages close to Phalaborwa, where our Amarula plant is based. They are paid per kilogram of fruit they deliver. However, with the bottling taking place in Stellenbosch, we are also able to work with close-by Boland communities. “
 
 

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