Community Builder: Mike Gedye

Co-founder: Soul of Africa

Why is Mike a Community Builder?

At first glance, Mike Gedye seems like your average skilled cobbler. Dig a little deeper, however, and you will find a man more concerned with the souls in his community than the soles on his factory floor.

Not that he doesn’t pay attention to every detail of the process, mind you.

In 2004, this Durban shoemaker and his wife, Sarah, established Soul of Africa, a self-sustainable project aimed at helping orphans affected by HIV/Aids through the sale of hand-stitched shoes and footballs.

Through the project, unemployed and unskilled women in KwaZulu-Natal have been trained to hand-stitch beautiful moccasins and footballs, giving them the self-empowering ability to feed their families and provide them with essential health care.

Mike is living proof that no matter what your background or business, we can all make a real difference to our communities.

In his own words.

“It makes me extremely proud to know that, as a South African, there is something I can do to help this marvellous country and the beautiful people we have got in it.”

Fast Facts

  • The charity has raised over US$1000 000 since 2004.
  • Many of the women working for Soul of Africa are the girls left behind whose parents have died from HIV/Aids.
  • Soul of Africa produces 200 pairs of shoes a day.
  • Every pair of shoes sold in South Africa contributes at least R32 to a trust that goes towards helping the children.
  • While the women work in the factory, their children are taken care of in the Child Care Development Centres.
  • The hand-stitched footballs are more durable than similar products on the market and are especially made for South African conditions.
  • Mike hopes to supply 2010 Fifa World Cup with Soul of Africa custom-made footballs.

How can I help?

According to Mike, Soul of Africa’s model has the potential to reach and employ so many more people, but simply lacks the capital to expand. Find out how you can support Soul of Africa by visiting them online.

Contact Soul of Africa
Tel: 031 450 0200
Fax: 031 465 3252

Story published on SAinfo on 5 May 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa