Knowledge sharing

Project ShoeBox launches in Poland

20 March 2017Magdalena Owsiana

Do you have a drawer of unused cosmetics at home? Have you ever wondered what you could do with them? Project Shoebox could be the answer!  It’s a charitable initiative that aims to provide women and their families in domestic violence shelters with toiletries, cosmetics and other basic necessities . It was born in the UK, the brainchild of Kate Kenyon, Principal for content at  Cognifide HQ in London. The project went national in 2015 and turned out to be a huge success with volunteers making up over 8,500 gift boxes.


Inspired by Kate's work, the Cognifide CSR Team in Poznan decided to scale Project ShoeBox and see whether they could make a success of it in Poland. We collaborated with the Children’s Rights Committee in Poznan who were really happy to advise us with the names of organisations that help women in difficult circumstances in the local area.

DSC_0504 For over two weeks we collected cosmetics and personal hygiene items in our office in Poznan. Our goal was to collect 160 boxes for disadvantaged women living in shelters or in difficult financial situations. The response was huge!. We engaged local and national media, local residents and, of course, a bunch of wonderful and ever-willing Cognifiders. What’s more, several of our business partners joined the initiative and we'd like to thank Magnetic Point, SolSoft, SII and Aviator Agency. We also asked fellow WPP companies to collaborate with us and Kantar Group jumped on board . Eventually, the project extended to four big Polish cities. Our supporters have absolutely risen the challenge. Having packed our boxes, we decided to deliver them on a very special day, International Women’s Day, on 8th March. So successful was the call for donations that we ended up with more cosmetics than boxes. and had to send members of our CSR Team out to shopping centres to beg for more boxes.

Each box was filled with a mix of simple toiletries such as shampoo and shower gel, as well as various cosmetics. Thanks to the help of our wonderful volunteers, we reached our goal and distributed 160 boxes in Poznan to four different shelters and NGOs. Our partners delivered their boxes to two other organisations in Szczecin and Poznan, making a total of 200 distributed boxes that were incredibly well received. 

So successful was the initiative that we are going to make it an International Women's Day tradition and will continue to help to women in need in future years. Huge thanks to everyone involved.

Author: Magdalena Owsiana
Published: 20 March 2017

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