There were smiles all over when a non-profit organisation (NPO), Lace up For Change, handed over 450 pairs of school shoes to all the children at Bramble Way Primary School in Bonteheuwel.
The organisation uses sports events to raise funds for outreach initiatives and is well-known for its Boeber Run every Friday and Saturday during Ramadaan.
With this latest project, its deputy chairperson, Irafaan Abrahams and his son, Hanaan, 15, raised R45 000 when they did the Cape Argus Cycle Tour.
This money was used to buy every child at Bramble Way a new pair of school shoes, and the children were treated to a hearty meal of akhni, boeber and each also received a sandwich.
Acting principal, Glynis Enfield, said the donation could not have come at a better time.
“This is such an amazing initiative. It’s winter time, and many of our pupils’ shoes are already broken, or some of them have outgrown their shoes. Many of our parents do not have money to replace these shoes, as a lot of them live off social grants.
“Our children are faced daily with drug abuse and gang violence in the community and it does affect them. Receiving the care they are getting today, put big smiles on their faces,” Ms Enfield said.
Chairperson of Lace Up for Change, Faizel Jacobs, said the organisation was started three years ago, while he was recovering from surgery after having been diagnosed with rectal cancer.
“I raised funds in the Chicago Marathon in America, and I thought why can’t I do this at home?”
He shared his idea with Mr Abrahams, and soon thereafter, Lace up for Change was started.
“What we believe in, is that we won’t hand out something that we ourselves are not prepared to take. We are extremely blessed, as we receive support from our families, friends, businesses and individuals. We have grown from our first Boeber Run – from 80 people initially to 800 now. The harsh reality is that the need out there is great.
“The greatest gift I received over the past three years, is that I don’t see the guy begging at the robot the same. What we do is purely for the sake of our Creator, and the only reason we publish our work, is that donors can see where their money has been spent,” Mr Jacobs said.
The Boeber Run starts five kilometres away from the informal settlement or community they visit. So before they serve people with the boeber, the group runs for five kilometres.
Mr Jacobs explained that the number five to them signifies the five pillars of Islam, and the call to prayer, which is five times a day.
He added that they have empowerment projects in the pipeline.
“We are looking at the holistic approach, like teaching people how to manage their finances. We have helped to reunite people with their families, but found the same people on the street again, and this is because they do not know how to manage their finances.”
If you would like to assist, click on the website: www.laceup