The Children’s Place and Plan International USA Partner to Provide Childcare for Apparel Factory Workers in Ethiopia

SECAUCUS, N.J. and WARWICK, R.I., Aug. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Children’s Place, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCE), the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America, and Plan International USA, a children’s rights and girls’ equality organization, announce a new partnership to establish an early childhood development (ECD) center at the Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia, the largest industrial park in Africa. This partnership is designed to advance gender equity in the apparel industry and to provide safe, dependable child care.

With women making up the vast majority of Hawassa Industrial Park’s workforce, there is a pressing need for quality child care services. Lack of child care options makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, for women to fully participate in the workforce. The Children’s Place and Plan International USA believe that in order to help achieve gender diversity and equity in the workplace, improved access to child care is essential.

As a large importer of apparel from Ethiopia, The Children’s Place works with many suppliers and vendors based in Hawassa, and its funding of the Early Childhood Development center is an investment in helping to promote worker well-being in the region. Plan International has operated in Ethiopia since 1995 and brings years of experience in education, having established 51 ECD centers in the country. This project builds on Plan’s strategic efforts around worker wellness and gender equity at the Hawassa Industrial Park since 2019. The funding provided by The Children’s Place will be used to provide the Hawassa Industrial Park workforce with much needed child care services. The project will kick off in August 2021, with the goal of reaching over 1,000 children and adults when the center is operating at full capacity. At its core, the center is designed to provide a safe space for children, ages 0-6, of employees at the Hawassa Industrial Park to learn and grow in an inclusive and holistic way.

In addition to providing an essential service, the center will create job and skill development opportunities. The center will recruit staff from surrounding communities who will participate in a training program led by Plan International Ethiopia and receive certification in ECD. The center will also work to ensure workers’ needs are prioritized — for example, by offering staggered hours for early, mid-day or evening shifts. The center will not only work to provide a safe space for children to learn and grow, it will also help to remove barriers for the largely female workforce, increasing gender equality, improving access to higher paying jobs and enabling more women to achieve economic independence.  The Children’s Place and Plan International USA are also excited about what this shared-value partnership can do to help prepare children for success later in life in a formal school setting.

Jane Elfers, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Place, said, “This early childhood development center initiative will help to improve the lives and well-being of apparel factory workers and their children. We are honored to be part of something that can have such a profound impact on women and children.” Ms. Elfers continued, “We know that access to safe, dependable child care and early education opportunities are critical to transforming the lives of children and contribute to gender equality and economic independence for women. We are proud to partner with Plan International in this first of its kind early childhood development center in the Hawassa Industrial Park.”

Shanna Marzilli, Chief Marketing Officer of Plan International USA, said, “We are thrilled to bring The Children’s Place on board as our latest partner in support of girls rights and gender equality. Our partnership holds great promise for breaking down barriers for women, who represent the majority of the global apparel industry, and their children, to achieve their full potential. Through this investment in early childhood development and care, we hope to inspire other businesses to think strategically about how best to support worker wellbeing and gender equality around the world.”

About The Children’s Place

The Children’s Place is the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America. The company designs, contracts to manufacture, sells at retail and wholesale, and licenses to sell fashionable, high-quality merchandise predominantly at value prices, primarily under the proprietary “The Children’s Place," “Place," “Baby Place” and “Gymboree” brand names. As of July 31, 2021, the Company had 708 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, online stores at www.childrensplace.com and www.gymboree.com, and the company’s eight international franchise partners had 208 international points of distribution in 17 countries.

Contact: Investor Relations at 201-558-2400 extension 14500

 About Plan International USA

Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with adolescent girls, young women and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, providing the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit https://planusa.org.

Contact: Brit Rocourt, Vice President of Philanthropy and Partnerships at brittney.rocourt@planusa.org


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