The mission of Antwerp Management School is based on three pillars: self-awareness, a global perspective, and societal consciousness. For this last pillar, every class at AMS needs to organize a social community project every year, as part of the Leadership and Career Development Track.
When I was doing the Master in Innovation & Entrepreneurship last year, I was part of a very close and driven group. As we were discussing what to do as our social project, it became clear quite quickly that we wanted to do something big. The Street Store is a concept that originated in Cape Town, South Africa that wants to help homeless and less fortunate people all around the world. The idea is pretty simple: you ask people to donate clothes which, on a certain day, are offered to the less fortunate in a real 'shopping experience'. To our class, this sounded like a great way to help local people and really have a positive impact on their life. The first Street Store in Antwerp was born.
It didn't take long before we realized this was actually going to take quite some work. We had to find a location, gather donations, get the word out to homeless people, sort the clothes, set up the shop, and many more things. However, as a group, we were very motivated to make this day a success. And, with a lot of time and effort, that's exactly what we did.
On the 1st of April 2015, we turned the Cargo summer bar at Park Spoor Noord into a big store. We had tons of clothes to give away, but also soup, bread, goodie-bags, toys, cosmetics, photographers for professional looking CV pictures, and even manicures and haircuts! In the end, 34 MIE students and some AMS staff helped almost 400 women, men and kids by offering more then 2500 clothes, 150 toys, 400 warm meals, 37 haircuts, 34 manicures, and 200 goodie bags (with toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks, pens, post-its, ...).
We got countless smiles in return.
It's safe to say this was the biggest social project so far by AMS students. All of this of course didn't go unnoticed: we were featured in numerous newspapers and websites like Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen (twice), and were interviewed by local TV station ATV. Don't forget to also check out this week's Alumni Stories testimonial below, featuring the guys from Bao House!