Shoe donation keeps pupils warm

Hundreds of children now have a new pair of shoes for winter.

About 330 poverty-stricken children from Khayelitsha can now walk with a spring in their step despite the winter cold after a shoe donation.

This initiative has been made possible by Liberty Life staff who donated funds towards Winter Shoe Drive, Changing People’s Lives, One Shoe at a time and Melela4Children, an NGO which aims to empower young people at schools.

On Thursday June 6 Sobambisana Primary School pupils benefited when shoes were distributed to children, some of whom had never owned a proper pair of school shoes.

School principal Mvuyisi Damba said he appreciated the gesture and was excited that so many children would get shoes.

“This exceeded our expectations. We are truly grateful to all the organisations that are involved in this programme.

“We are very happy that our children will now have shoes, because most don’t have them.

“Another telling story is that they are Grades 1 and 2s. This is a huge chunk. All the 328 children are happy,” he said.

He said his school was in an area where unemployment was high and as a result, many parents couldn’t afford to buy their children school shoes. Some of these children came to school barefoot.

“This is a great year for us but we still need more help. We have children in other grades who also need shoes. But we are not complaining. “Melela4Children is a great help to the school and the community. They take our children over the weekends. They also brought Liberty Life on board. That makes us happy,” he said.

Liberty Life said their focus was on education and poor children. Worksite manager Odwa Mazwi said they ran the programme every year and that the contributions came from the staff.

“We were aiming to give 500 pair of shoes but we have exceeded that number to nearly 1 000. This year we were in two schools and the focus was in the Western Cape.

“We have donated here and at Imperial Primary in Mitchell’s Plain. The purpose is to make a change and a difference,” he said and urged other organisations to also do something at the schools. Melela4Children founder, Indira Lubambo, said they help children with their school work and enhance their talent by creating a space where these kids can develop. She said they work with schools in subjects like maths, life skills and extramural activities.

Ms Lubambo said they do that because they know the struggles of township people.