A passion for people and nature
that drives environmental change
A changing climate and lack of access to a stable income are two growing concerns for South Africa. Making a change requires inspirational new leaders, like Preola Adam, working hard to secure a bright future for her country.
In South Africa, the effects of climate change are already being felt. There is an urgent need for an increase in the planting of native trees to help prevent extreme events like flash floods, and protect the agricultural land of smallholder farmers for future generations to come. Poverty is equally a serious problem in South Africa, with widespread unemployment compromising the livelihoods of millions of families.
Uplifting impoverished communities, whilst generating a positive environmental impact is inspiring young individuals to raise their voices and help lead their homelands onto sustainable paths. These individuals are crucial to us moving forward and giving them a voice is important.
One of these people is Unilever employee Preola Adam, who is helping to give unskilled workers in poverty-stricken areas of South Africa the chance to improve their way of life. A project engineer by profession, Preola has been a key part of developing innovations that have helped us reduce water and energy wastage within our factories, but it is her passion for the environment and helping people that led her to working in her role, leading the sustainable agenda and the Unilever Foundation for South Africa. One of the partners she works with is Wildlands, to help improve the livelihood of South Africans in impoverished communities.
“One of my favourite quotes,” she says, is: “If not now, then when – and if not you, then who?” Preola believes that we all have a role to play and that we have a responsibility to each other and to future generations. We must all play our part in creating a brighter future. “It’s simply the right thing to do, and there is no better time to start than now,” she says.
Preola is actively involved in Wildlands’ Greenpreneurs programme, which allows community members to barter indigenous trees that they have sown and cared for, as well as recycling waste in return for health and well-being packs to the value of R 350. These packs include everyday essentials, from Unilever brands like Lifebuoy, Domestos and Sunlight.
The Green-preneurs programme not only helps the environment, through much needed re-forestation, it actively improves the livelihoods of people in need and benefits the economy of South Africa as a whole, which is why it is so important to have people, like Preola, getting involved and helping.
“What makes this all worthwhile is knowing that we are making a difference to the lives of, not only the Green-preneur, but also their families. The Green-preneurs can now afford to send their kids to school thereby providing an exit to poverty,” Preola says.
One of her biggest learnings from the programme has been understanding the power of going beyond charity, giving a person a one-off donation that helps them for a day. “We need to apply ourselves to create real, sustainable and impactful solutions,” she says. “That is what really makes a difference and that is how we will change the world for the better!”
You don’t need to be Preola to make a difference. Each and every one of us can take action to improve our life and the lives of others. Preola’s advice to people reading her story, that are feeling inspired to start making a difference: “Just go out and do it! There is no better time than now.”
To find out more about the Green-preneurs initiative and how you can get involved, click here.