With winter bearing down on the country, children who to walk to and from school in very cold remote rural areas are bearing the brunt of the season’s onslaught. The children often don’t have basic school kit, and worse, no school shoes, leaving them exposed to the elements. Temperatures in these provinces can often plummet to below freezing and snow is no stranger to these parts.
Recognising the children’s need Mbokodo Corporate Events initiated the National Flip Flop Friday Winter Movement to help these children receive the shoes they desperately need. The initiative runs for winter each year.
Mbokodo says that “in a nutshell the campaign is about getting people to support rural farm schools [and] children who live under dire conditions by purchasing a pair of flip flops and in turn we purchase a pair of school shoes which will last the kids through this coming winter and the remainder of the school year. ”
The organisation pledges to buy a pair of school shoes for every pair of flip flops sold.
Mbokodo encouraged flip flop buyers, on 30 May, to” wear flip flops to work [so] you get a feel as to what it’s like for children who have to go to school without shoes in winter.”
DELIVERING NEW SHOES
On Friday 6 June the Flip Flop Friday team delivered shoes and bags to children at farm schools near the small town of Warden, in the Free State.
One school, Bhojwana Farm School, is on a small piece of land an hour’s drive from Warden and surrounded by farmland and koppies as far as the eye can see. The school has a single teacher, is low on resources and teaching materials and is run from a single classroom with what little funds the parents, most of whom work on the farm, can muster.
Sarah Mathebula, the only teacher and acting principal, said “I feel very proud because we are trying to do something for the future of our nation even in the position that we are in.
“I don’t think of these children as pupils but as children of my own; seeing them going forward and being able to chase their dreams is why I do what I do.
“Companies like Mbokodo are sorely needed in our country and I’m glad we were lucky enough to catch their attention.”
PLAY YOUR PART
This year’s flip flop drive is Mbokodo’s second. Last year’s drive secured school shoes for some 300 children attending rural and farm schools in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Free State provinces.
This year Mbokodo aimed to reach more than 4000 children in the country’s coldest provinces, and children in Lesotho and Swaziland.
“We wanted this year’s initiative to be bigger and better than last year,” Mbokodo explains; “we tried our best to reach as many children as we could in as many places as we could.
“It has been a great success to this point.”
Flip flops are available to order at R100 per pair, or R5000 for 60 pairs.