Durban, South Africa: Woolworths announced today that they are extending their ‘Making The Difference’ programme to include 100 schools from the Durban area, once again putting their full support behind uplifting education in South Africa. After successfully implementing the 2nd phase of ‘Making The Difference’ in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, the Woolworths Trust is expanding the foot print of the programme to reach new schools in Durban. There will now be 1 000 schools participating in the ‘Making The Difference’ programme nationally. One third of these are under-resourced schools identified specifically by the Woolworths Trust. ‘Making The Difference’ is an innovative educational initiative and a natural extension of the MySchool project that Woolworths drives nationally through their stores. Since joining MySchool in 1999 as the primary retailer partner Woolworths has contributed R14.8million to schools throughout the country, of which over the last year alone their contribution to the programme was more than R8million. But their commitment to uplifting education goes deeper than that. Through ‘Making The Difference’, Woolworths shares its extensive knowledge of good food, nutrition and healthy living with school communities. The programme targets Grade 4 learners, educators and parents through expert teacher resource packs, experiential learning outings and parent talks. These activities represent a significant investment on the part of Woolworths that goes beyond their retail MySchool contribution. Schools participating in the “Making The Difference” programme receive a resource pack, which consists of seven Edumodules. Woolworths in conjunction with the Sports Science Institute and Western Cape Education Department, has developed the resource packs in line with the current curriculum. The pack supports the teaching of Health Education and Physical Development as well as elements within Natural Science and Technology. It includes training manuals with colour charts, handouts, project suggestions and ideas that learners can apply to their everyday environment. A variety of themes – ‘The importance of a healthy, balanced diet and exercise’; ‘Understanding the nutrients in food’; ‘Food-based dietary guidelines’; ‘Healthy snacking and the healthy lunchbox’; ‘The benefits of exercise and physical activity’; and ‘Health and the environment, including food safety, labelling and packaging’ and ‘Water’ – make up the seven modules. Xena and Torak, two characters developed by Woolworths and used throughout the modules to help learners better understand the various health issues, will continue to feature in the resource packs. They play an important role in that they add a sense of fun to the programme. Each module includes both theoretical and practical components. “Learners are encouraged to apply what they have learned in the classroom and to extend what they have learned into their homes and every day lives”, says Pieter Twine, Head of MySchool at Woolworths. An experiential learning component forms an integral aspect of ‘Making The Difference’ programme. Woolworths facilitates outings for learners to actual production areas, farms, suppliers and Woolworths stores enabling learners to understand the practical component of what they have learnt. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the ‘Making The Difference’ journey. Parent talks will once again be hosted at various schools that are participating in the programme in 2006. The talks will reflect the modules that are being taught at the schools, with the view of assisting parents in making healthy lifestyle choices. Brian Frost, Chairman of the Woolworths Trust and Non Executive Director of Woolworths says: “We are delighted to be launching ‘Making The Difference’ in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It’s a privilege for Woolworths to engage directly and meaningfully with schools in our communities. The Woolworths Trust is committed to the ‘Making The Difference’ programme and is hoping to take the programme to even more schools throughout South Africa by 2007. “ Woolworths is the primary retail partner of MySchool, a national programme managed and owned by Virtual Market Place. All South Africans and South African schools are encouraged to participate in the MySchool programme by contacting MySchool on 0860 100 455 or getting their applications forms from any Woolworths outlet. For more information regarding the Woolworths ‘Making The Difference’ programme, call Woolworths on (021)407-3490.