Shoes keep schooling on track

walk---textA shoe handover at Ntokwe Primary in Taung in the North West Province. (Image: Walk A Child To School Facebook)

Walk a Child to School is helping to improve the lives of disadvantaged children through the simple act of donating school shoes. You are urged to help the cause.

All South Africans are on called to play their part by donating school shoes so disadvantaged children can go to school with pride.

The Walk a Child to School campaign, spearheaded by two Stellenbosch social change drivers, Abulele Adams and Wisaal Osman, calls on people to donate school shoes. The initiative was inspired by Adams’ mother, a teacher, who spoke about a girl in her class who walked to school with broken shoes throughout winter.

Her story propelled Adams and Osman to create the Walk a Child to School campaign. Adams told SA Goodnews that they planned to hand over shoes monthly to deserving schools throughout South Africa.

“The overall plan for Walk a Child to School is to provide children from various schools with school shoes monthly and perhaps expand that to other learning materials, for example stationery, school bag, school uniform, etc.

“Learners need to be encouraged to continue with school. Shoes should not be another barrier a learner must overcome in order to have a positive schooling experience,” he said.

HOW IT WORKS

The initiative receives donations from people who wish to make a difference in their communities. Teachers identify the children at their schools who need shoes. The criterion for selecting children is purely social need. There are no academic requirements for any learner to get the shoes.

Walk a Child to School then collects the money, buys the shoes and hands them over to the children.

“Ideally, we collect as many shoes as are needed, but this is dependent on funding,” Osman explained. “We have completed a handover for 84 pairs of shoes at one school. At a different school we gave 30 pairs of shoes. It depends on the needs of the children at the school.”

This month, the two will be handing over shoes at Goedgedacht School in Western Cape and at a school in Brandvlei, in Northern Cape.

They have collaborated with organisations such as The Taung Child Foundation, Tshegetso Community Projects and Goedgedacht Foundation.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the project by buying shoes or by donating money. There are no specific sizes or gender restrictions. You can donate cash to the following bank account:

  • Bank: Capitec
  • Account name: Abulele Adams
  • Account number: 1348645057
  • Bank code: 470010
  • Reference: Your name and surname

BENEFICIARIES

Since the start of the project, in October 2015, nearly R10 000 has been donated and it has served many needy schoolchildren.

The first school to receive shoes was Masakhane Primary School in Port Elizabeth, which got 64 pairs of shoes on 23 October 2015. Other schools that have benefited include: Parkhurst Primary School in Westridge, Mitchells Plain; and, Rietenbosch Primary School in Cloetesville, Stellenbosch.

PRAISE

Durban-born, American-based early childhood development expert Bonginkosi Hopewell Mkhize praised the duo.

“I have worked with children over the past seven years,” he said. “I have seen a lot of kids going to school without shoes. I have noticed a huge negative impact on those kids’ academic records. It also affects their self-confidence. They have social withdrawal syndromes because of the stereotypical stigmatising treatment from their peers. Most of them lack motivation and they drop out of school.”

It was very important that we all played a meaningful role and addressed this issue by supporting initiatives that sought to address challenges faced by our children, he added.

“I rally behind the initiative and I wish that everyone can support this initiative.”

Cape Town early childhood facilitator and peer educator Jonathan Ho’Bosch shared Mkhize’s sentiments.

“We need more people to possess true integrity and leadership as community leaders,” he said. “Young people need to also be the change that they want to see in the world so the people doing these programmes must go to churches and society or stokvel groups for assistance.”

PLAY YOUR PART

Are you playing your part to help improve the lives of the people around you or the environment? Do you know of anyone who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?

If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.