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International Women's Day 2023

They may come from different walks of life and different cultures, live in different countries and speak other languages, have faced their own challenges and victories, and have different goals and aspirations, but the women of Virgin Limited Edition have one thing that binds them all together and that is their remarkable spirit.

On International Women's Day and each and every day of the year, we celebrate these incredible ladies who lead and support departments across the company. No matter which property or office they work in, from the Kenyan plains to London, from the Atlas Mountains to the Cape Winelands or the South African Bush, from the Swiss Alps to the island of Mallorca and all the way to British Virgin Islands, their creativity, dedication and achievements define the success of our company and fill us with great pride to have them as part of our #Virginfamily.

We've previously featured stories from across the group and this year, we're shining the spotlight again on three very special and much-loved women in our teams with uplifting and inspiring journeys who have or are breaking sterotypes, challenging gender biasses and are overcoming difficult circumstances in their own unique ways to pursue their dreams.

Peggy Maluleke – Head Pastry Chef at Ulusaba

Peggy, or "Mama Peggy" as she is affectionately known as by the Ulusaba team in South Africa, comes from humble roots and grew up with eight siblings in a rural area outside the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Her mother was a domestic worker and her father worked in the mines but she was fortunate enough to secure a job at Ulusaba while completing her schooling.

When she started out, she was in charge of cleaning the lodge kitchens, which she did with utmost care and dedication. Her potential for growth did not go unnoticed either, and she soon progressed to housekeeping and waitressing.

Her passion though had always been cooking, and whenever she had a spare moment, she never shied away from getting stuck in with kneading, whipping and baking to help out the chefs in the kitchen.

It came as no surprise then that when the pastry chef at the time was due to head on maternity leave, Peggy jumped at the opportunity to provide cover. Fast forward a few years and Peggy today is Ulusaba’s Head Pastry Chef, producing all those delectable pastries, tea and game drive snacks for Ulusaba’s discerning safari guests.

Versatility, ambition and hard work have been Peggy’s recipe in shaping her career at Ulusaba, a career that has also allowed her to finance her brother's education.

As a strong Shangaan lady and a Gogo (a grandmother), there is no denying Peggy's passion, perseverance or her kind-hearted nature and we hope her story of social upliftment inspires you in more ways than one to pursue your dreams and goals.

Cilma Robinson - Housekeeping Manager at Necker Island

Over in the Caribbean, Cilma has been making sure our housekeeping team are delivering the highest standard of service to our Necker Island guests for over 32 years now.

She's a proud Dominican and also takes great pride in the fact that she has been able to adapt to new advances in technology and that the hard work she puts in meet her guest's discerning expectations.

Balancing work and home life as a mum of three, like for many women in hospitality, has not been easy for her, but she has learnt to concentrate solely on the tasks for the day when she is at the job, and be present with her family to enjoy all the precious small moments when she is at home.

Her mum, Caroline, has been her biggest inspiration in her life and has instilled a strong work ethic and go-getter attitude in her, which you can see plays a huge part in her daily life and career.

In her opinion, every test you experience makes you a better and stronger individual, and every obstacle you encounter is an opportunity to show what you are made of. It is this infectious positivity of hers that is much loved and appreciated by the rest of her team.

Cilma is also generous with her time and volunteers in the local community wherever and whenever she is needed, whether for neighbours, for her family or at church. She believes that you can only advance yourself if you are constantly searching for knowledge.

Hanane El Bouhamidi, Programme Manager for The Eve Branson Foundation

And finally in Asni, at the foothills of Morocco's Atlas Mountains, we find another inspiring mum of two.

In charge of the day to day running of the Eve Branson Foundation office as programme manager, Hanane El Bouhamidi, helps to develop the craft centres and support community initiatives such as the new study centre project in the local areas. She manages relations with public bodies as well, which is not always easy, especially for a woman in this part of the world.

International Women's Day to her, is a great opportunity to stand up for women’s rights and promote their participation in political, economic and social life. She believes women have proven their success as good managers and leaders and there is huge potential to create more opportunities for women and nurture positive partnerships in the rural communities of the Atlas Mountains.

The most valuable piece of advice she has ever been given was to have confidence in yourself and to develop your skillset, and with this in mind, she has pursued her ambitions and is extremely proud of the job she is doing today.

The Eve Branson Foundation plays a big role in bettering the everyday life for women in Morocco by providing vocation training, offering jobs and selling their hand-made products to guests staying at Kasbah Tamadot and across the world, and by being a part of this, Hanane believes she too is helping to improve the situation of women - this she says is the most rewarding part of her role.

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