The cash-strapped Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival has been given a lifeline after it was accepted by the Woolworths My School, My Village, My Planet fundraising scheme.

The best part is that while the initiative requires support from the LGBT community, it will not actually cost anyone any money to ensure that Out in Africa lives on.

The festival, now its 19th year, has been struggling to find the cash to sustain itself following the recent closure of an Atlantic Philanthropies LGBT fund, a significant source of gay and lesbian financing.

Speaking at the opening of the latest edition of Out in Africa in Johannesburg last week Wednesday, Festival Director Nodi Murphy said that she had been expecting to announce the end of the festival in her speech.

She, revealed, however, that she had since been informed that Out in Africa had been accepted by Woolworths and that the scheme could, if backed by the LGBT community, keep the festival going for years to come.

Under the plan, Woolworths will donate to the festival one percent of all purchases made by holders of a My School, My Village, My Planet card who have chosen Out in Africa as a beneficiary.

“Every swipe counts, at no cost to the LGBTI Woolworths shopper, and one percent of spend comes to us,” explained Sharon Jackson, Out in Africa Deputy Director.

The Woolworths card programme generates more than R3 million every month for over 9000 schools, charities and environmental and animal welfare organisations in South Africa.

The festival must garner 500 completed My School, My Village, My Planet card applications, which are the required minimum, before Woolworths will put Out in Africa onto their system.

If you are attending the festival, which is on until 28 October in Johannesburg and Cape Town, make sure you request an application form from the Out in Africa staff and apply, at no cost to you.

Once the 500 application forms have been submitted, existing Woolworths My School, My Village, My Planet members, will then also be able to add Out in Africa as a beneficiary. 

“If we can garner thousands of members, it means the festival will become self sustaining,” said Jackson. “So please, if you shop at Woolworths, assist us by adding us to your card.”

As another means to raise funds, the festival has also launched an online store where a number of films screened at Out in Africa, as well as merchandise, can be bought.

For details on the 19th Out in Africa Film Festival, click here.

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