There was joy on the faces of 45 pupils and their parents, from five primary schools around Khayelitsha, when MEC of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde gave them new school shoes, at White house hall, Khayelitsha, on Monday June 6.
The shoes were bought following several fundraising initiatives by members of the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Teachers from Jongintaba, Nomsa, Ntlanganiso, Sivuyeseni and Khwezilesizwe primary schools were then advised to identify needy pupils.
The DA’s proportional representative (PR) councillor, Philiswa Marman, said pupils were not chosen based on their academic performances.
She said the initiative sought to restore pupils’ dignity and to boost their self-esteem.
“Shoes or any school item should not be a barrier that a child must overcome in order to be able to achieve positive results. As you can see some of the pupils are wearing worn-out shoes. For instance, there are twins here who are dependent on their grandmothers pension grant. Their mother is seriously ill and is not able to work,” she said. “And most parents are struggling to make ends meet. They simply cannot afford the basic needs for their children.”
Ms Marman said they hoped the drive would not be once-off but the start of an initiative that would grow and benefit the entire Khayelitsha community.
One of the parents, Beauty Jim expressed her gratitude to the donors, saying they should continue to help those who are struggling.
From her pension money, the 60-year-old Ms Jim supports her daughter and her two grandchildren.
“Two weeks ago my two grandchildren told me that their shoes had holes and I said to them I would make a plan.
“But I was just giving them false hope because I did not know where I would get the money to buy the shoes. The donation has definitely come at the right time,” she said.
Smiling from ear to ear, long after she had fitted her new school shoes, Grade 4 Sivuyeseni Primary School pupil, Ikho Mpango, 10, said: “I will now focus on my studies and my confidence has been boosted.
“I want to be a social worker so that I can also help other people who come from poor families.”