The Lucy & Yak School Run (#YakSchoolRun)

We are a company and a team that is always striving to do better. We understand that being ethical and sustainable is a journey, and so is making deep, lasting change. We also know we have a lot to do – we’re not there yet on some things, but we are working on it. As part of that journey, we’re ever on the lookout for ways that we can be innovative and strive for a future where everybody wins.

You’re probably familiar with Black Friday, and the conundrum it presents: every year we see big brands offer massive discounts and encourage overconsumption. While it can be a good time to stock up on gifts, and snag that thing you'd been eyeing up for a while, it can also encourage us all to buy things we don’t need and add pressure on workers in manufacturing to produce large quantities of stock for unfair pay. 2020 was tough for many businesses – if you're a business-owner who chose not to cancel your orders and committed to paying your suppliers throughout the pandemic, you may have needed to offer discounts in order to keep afloat during a very trying time. Overall, Black Friday can often feel pretty draining – and we're sure you'll agree, we could all do with some good news at this time of year.

So, what are we doing?

We're passionate about ongoing, sustained involvement in communities, as we believe this is what makes true, lasting change to people’s lives. Fair, well paid jobs are one way to do that - which is what we aim to provide to everyone who works with us, but education is also one of the most powerful and persisting ways to make change – it not only affects one person's life but can transform communities and futures.

For the past two years we’ve wanted to do Black Friday differently, and 2020 was no exception – so instead of slashing our prices, we committed to donating 10% of every sale to two amazing causes, in India and the UK.

For the third year we be partnered with our friends at the Fior Di Loto Foundation in Pushkar, India, who provide schooling to over 700 girls who may not otherwise have access to education. We wanted to send the same girls back to school for another year, and hopefully even more!

2020 also highlighted the reality that young people are struggling closer to home as well. From school closures across the UK, and the unavailability of free school meals – we saw how precarious, but also how key education is for every child.

So, we were also delighted to be joining forces with the marvellous Magic Breakfast, who provide nutritious breakfasts to almost 50,000 children across England & Scotland.

With your support, we hoped to achieve the following:

  • Send 100 girls to school for another year with Fior Di Loto
  • Provide 100 food parcels to families through Fior Di Loto
  • Provide 10,000 nutritious breakfasts through Magic Breakfast

If you were looking to stock up on your Yak staples or do some early festive shopping, 10% of all sales from Friday 27th November until Tuesday 1st December was donated to our charities to help make our target happen!

Not looking to purchase? No worries! We set up this donation link so you were able to give to the charities directly.

It means so much to us that year on year, you are prepared to forfeit discounts and look out for people – we couldn't wait to see if we could make it an even bigger donation this year, sending more amazing girls to school and providing nutritious meals to families and school children!

The Charities

FIOR DI LOTO

We continued to support the wonderful Fior Di Loto Foundation for a third year - a charity based in Pushkar, India who provide schooling to girls who may not otherwise have access to education.

We've seen first-hand the difference that Deepu and Mara (who run the Foundation) have made to the girls' lives in the town so we know the money will be going to such important use. The school is located near Ismail’s factory in Pushkar, Rajasthan (Ismail is our wonderful friend and business partner whose team of tailors produce 80% of Lucy & Yak products) and it will go a long way to benefiting the whole community, from a true grass roots level. Many former students are now teachers and nurses, and many others are graduates in economics.

For £220, Fior Di Loto can educate one girl for one year, as well as buying her uniform, shoes, books, and provide her lunch and transport, and a lovely dress for Diwali celebrations.

In 2018, Lucy & Yak customers raised enough over the Black Friday weekend to provide education for 36 girls, and in 2019, your generosity raised enough to provide education for 90 of these girls!

In 2020, the landscape of education looked very different to the norm due to the pandemic. Fior Di Loto had come up against a severe drop in funding due to the lack of tourism in the area, and many of the community lost their jobs due to the ongoing crisis. The team adapted to provide ongoing support throughout the pandemic – looking into sourcing tablet computers so that girls could attend online classes, and providing families with food parcels, at a time when income and provisions were hard to come by.

One food parcel cost £8 and can feed an entire family for a month. This was also a part of what we were donating towards.

Three Pillars of Fior Di Loto for 2020:

Education:

The main focus of our foundation will always be to expand our education network so each year more girls in the Rajasthan area are granted the education they deserve. We ensure that the girls have the necessary skills to pursue a career of their own, or by helping them to continue pursuing higher education.

Community:

Our support begins with the girls’ education, but it doesn’t end there. We understand that in order to promote true social change, the entire community must be involved. We continue to create new social programs that can help the most vulnerable in the community: the elderly, widowers, homeless people, and those living with disabilities – to name a few.

Environment:

Our planet is suffering an environmental catastrophe right now. From the foundation we try to promote a healthy and ecological lifestyle to the whole community. Only through environmental education and citizen awareness will we be able to combat the pollution that many cities in India suffer.

Find out more here: https://www.educategirls.ngo/pdf/English%20-%20Information%20Brochure.pdf

MAGIC BREAKFAST

In addition to Fior Di Loto, thanks to 2020, more than ever we were able to recognise that there's a need to support children right here in the UK, so that they too can get the education they deserve.

We were delighted to be donating a portion of the proceeds from the #YakSchoolRun to the wonderful Magic Breakfast.

The charity was founded in 2003 by Carmel McConnell MBE. While researching her first book ‘Change Activist’ in 2000, Carmel interviewed five headteachers in the London Borough of Hackney who told her that many of their pupils arrived at school too hungry or malnourished to learn.

Carmel started buying and delivering breakfast food to these schools, with remarkable results as children’s concentration, behaviour, punctuality, and educational attainment significantly improved. As demand for help grew, Carmel took out a loan and time out from her business, and established Magic Breakfast.

They've since grown hugely and now provide a healthy start to around 48,400 children in England and Scotland during term time, in over 480 primary, secondary, SEN schools and Pupil Referral Units.

Magic Breakfast also offers holiday food and activities to schools in London and Glasgow through its 365 programme, supported by Morgan Stanley.

In the academic year 2018/19 Magic Breakfast provided:

  • 2,892,096 bagels
  • 1,481,916 bowls of cereal
  • 1,672,696 glasses of juice
  • 251,147 bowls of porridge

“One boy’s behaviour was so bad we were about to exclude him. Before I did, I thought, let’s just try asking him to breakfast club. It was magic – he settled. He was just hungry. So simple.” - Member of staff at Randal Cremer Primary School, Hackney.

“The breakfast club is like adding a pressure valve in the school – we can sort out problems before they turn into emergencies, just by having a few minutes to talk to the child while they’re enjoying their bagel”. - Breakfast club coordinator at a Magic Breakfast partner school.

“The great thing about the breakfast club is that we can give children some additional support, extra reading or just someone to talk to. It enables children to mix in a less pressured environment.” - Teacher at Magic Breakfast partner school.

The knock-on effects of something so simple as a breakfast cannot be underestimated and we’re so pleased to be able to help this year. We’ll have more breakfast-related pieces throughout the weekend, along with more info on how you can help in your community.

Find out more here: https://www.magicbreakfast.com/

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Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the #YakSchoolRun and joined us in doing Black Friday differently for another year. We are delighted to say that we smashed our targets and were able to support with the following:

  • Sending 112 girls to school
  • Providing 150 food parcels to families
  • Serving 10,624 breakfasts to school children

This is REALLY special. We're completely blown away by all your support, the kind comments, everyone who shared our initiative, and every one of you who forfeited the usual big discounts of the weekend or donated directly in order to make a really positive change to so many lives. 

We're absolutely thrilled and really excited to be able to send such fantastic donations to our partnering charities, and have no doubt that the impact on the girls, the school and the whole community will be huge, immediate, tangible AND long-lasting.

Thank you!

Team Lucy & Yak x