The U.S. Mission works hard to be a valuable part of the South African community, both as a diplomatic institution engaged broadly across society and as individual staff members giving something back on our own. Here’s an example of one of our staff with a project very close to her heart. The Janie Project was started in 2011 by Karin Kitching in memory of her daughter, Janicke Kitching who passed away in May 2010. Karin says Janicke was a true “fashionista” with a love of shoes and all things beautiful. The project began on Janicke’s birthday in 2011 as a celebration of her uniqueness and passion for life and as a way to say thank you for her time with us.
Through the project, Karin aims to affirm to young girls growing up in difficult circumstances that they are special and need to value themselves. To show these young girls how special they are, The Janie Project gives each girl a new pair of shoes. To date, more than 500 pairs of new shoes have been provided to girls from the ages of four months to 18 years. In 2014, Karin took the project to the next level by adding the provision of school fees for one special young girl. “I do believe in the concept of paying it forward,” says Karin.