Hands that Shape Humanity is a social enterprise which forms part of the REAL Group, a collective of businesses that crosses retail, social enterprise and brand consultancy.

Hands That Shape Humanity began in 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa, in conjunction with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation. It was originally conceived as a repository of intellectual capital from iconic individuals including Carlos Santana, Noor Al-Hussein, Paulo Coelho, Isabel Allende, and Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with the aim of inspiring human potential.

The philosophies, reflections, insights and experiences of 36 iconic individuals formed the content of a visually powerful exhibition which toured Cape Town (2006) and Oslo (2008), and focused on a central question,

“If you could leave one message for humanity, what would it be?”

Following the first exhibition, Virginia Bruce was approached to take Hands That Shape Humanity to a global scale. A social entrepreneur with over 25 years experience as an international brand and business developer, Virginia forged her reputation through her key role in developing the retail concept, brand licensing and product design for several global brands, including Warner Bros Studio, Audi and Volkswagen Group China, Coca Cola EU, Mattel, International Olympic Committee and four back to back Olympic Games.

As the CEO of Hands That Shape Humanity and the REAL Group, Virginia has, for the past 7 years, invested significant funds and time in developing Hands That Shape Humanity into a multi-faceted social enterprise which aims to merge profit and social enterprise into the DNA of it’s business model with equal emphasis on both.

Creativity lays at the core of Virginia’s vision, “I see creativity as a visceral force for change and believe that infinite possibilities exist within each and every one of us to make a positive impact.”

Hands’ is a Social Enterprise

Hands’ creates social enterprises providing opportunities for work and empowerment. Each initiative is linked to a philanthropic partner who receives a portion of the project’s profit.

Most recently, Hands’ and Myer collaborated with The Ethical Fashion Initiative on a range of summer tote bags designed by 5 Australian fashion designers, and manufactured and embellished by a skilled team of Maasai beaders and embroiderers in Kenya.

Hands’ is Education

In 2009, Hands That Shape Humanity set up Hand Up, a mentoring program run with tertiary students, providing structure and opportunity to receive industry experience.

In 2010, Hands That Shape Humanity launched the SEAT Project, which aims to inspire children to discover their own potential, using a small bamboo stool manufactured in Vietnam as a metaphor for this education. Designed by COFA graduate Nikki Banados, SEAT forms part of a trans-discplinary educational package and raises funds for the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation.

Other projects include “Life in Parts” by Santina Ingui, raising awareness of mental issues, “Take a Walk in My Shoes” by Visala Wong, highlighting the plight of the extremely poor in rural China, and “Protect the Child” by Jason Giam, a range of T-shirts and graphics addressing the issue of ‘conflict minerals’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hands’ is Retail

The REAL Store, located in Woolloomooloo, is the retail component of this social enterprise, which provides a showcase and distribution channel for the projects, brands and designers, linking the essence of Hands, the intellectual property and the brand across all facets of the project.

Hands’ is Inspiring Human Potential

Through every facet, Hands That Shape Humanity provides a global platform enabling individuals from all walks of life and aspirations to walk along their own path on a personal journey towards realizing their unique potential.

“My message for humanity is to live inspired, with passion and purpose, and in the process walk lightly on this planet with love, care and compassion in your heart for yourself and others,” shares Virginia Bruce.

You can read our complete interview with Virginia Bruce, CEO of Hands That Shape Humanity and learn more about our programs here.