At the core of the Balega brand is giving back, our mission of community and helping those less fortunate. Our non-profit organization, the Lesedi Project, works to strengthen South African and American communities. Launched in 2004, the Lesedi Project represents the core values we strive for. Each year, we launch a limited edition Balega sock collection to benefit the Lesedi Project. This year, we’re so excited to debut the limited edition Balega Lesedi Hidden Comfort sock collection.
Through the Lesedi Project, Balega has supported the Ethembeni School - a boarding school that caters to physically disabled and visually impared children from predominantly rural areas all over Kwa-Zulu Natal, Kingdom of the Zulu. Receiving only 30-percent of its funding from the government, the Ethembeni School is reliant on outside sources to maintain their unique teaching programs.
For the past 15 years, Balega has supported the Ethembeni School by raising money for student scholarships, aiding in the funding of a therapy playground and swimming pool, and purchasing a wheelchair-accessible school bus. Through the Lesedi Bead Project, students at the school handmake colorful bead bracelets that are sold next to Balega socks in specialty retail stores in the U.S. All of the profits made from the bracelet sales go back to the school to help fund new developments and benefit the students at Ethembeni.
“Giving back to the community is as important to Balega as the socks we make, and we are here to help and serve those around us — those in our community, and those we may not see,” said Tanya Pictor, Vice President of Marketing for Balega. “To celebrate 16 years of Balega, we are excited to launch the limited edition Lesedi Hidden Comfort sock collection in honor of all those who run and those who dream to run.”
The best part? For every pair of the new Limited Edition Lesedi Hidden Comfort socks sold, $1 will be donated to the Lesedi Project. Balega’s partnership drives the Ethembeni School’s scholarship program, allowing 12 designated children to attend tuition free each year.
Students like Nompumelelo Gina, a 16-year-old girl who only has partial eyesight, rely on the Lesedi Project to attend school. From the Umbongitwini rural area, Nompumelelo was diagnosed with a condition called Congenital Retiniti. She is involved with the school choir, is doing well academically, and she loves table tennis.
Practical skills and work experience play a big role in the education of the Ethembeni students. For example, the school recently upgraded their library, and the 16-year-old student Seluleko Ngubane works as the school’s Library Monitor. Seluleko has received training in issuing books and returning books to the library for other students.
In addition to academic work, the students practice a variety of sports. Petros Mlife is a 15-year-old student with excellent academic and leadership skills who also excels at table tennis. He was selected for the Summer Games in 2017 and 2018 and won gold and silver medals. This year, he also took part in the Para Table Tennis Championship in Bloemfontein where he received the gold medal. Nonhle Meyiwa, a blind student who excels academically and musically, also likes to run, and recently came in second place when she ran 100m during the school’s sports day. Students like Nosipho Ndlovu and Owami Memela who are visually or physically impaired also have the opportunity to participate in wheelchair races and competitions or play goalball, a sport for visually impaired players. The Ethembeni School enables these students to thrive in school.
Available in six new styles and colorways, the limited edition Lesedi Hidden Comfort collection will be available in select retail stores November 1 and will retail for $15 MSRP. We can’t wait for you try them!