Shoe drive for rural schools

The school shoe handover in Oudtshoorn last year.

The Hakuna Matata school shoe drive is appealing to the public to support its efforts to help children from rural schools.

The founder of the initiative, Irafaan Abrahams, from Athlone, said that schools in Worcester, Oudtshoorn and other rural areas had been forgotten about, and children walked to school for more than 5km barefoot. The need in those areas was far greater than the need in Cape Town, he said.

Last year, Mr Abrahams asked 32 Cape Town Marathon participants to run for school shoes, and together they pledged 42 pairs of school shoes – a pair for each of the 42km they ran. Those shoes will be donated to underprivileged pupils in April.

“We hand out the shoes in April because everyone does it in January and by winter, pupils need new shoes,” he said.

From April and August last year, Hakuna Matata donated 1500 pairs of school shoes to Zeekoegat, Volmoed and Aan De Doorns primary schools. The organisation’s volunteers also gave meals to the children.

“The teachers and pupils are so grateful. They really need our support. Children are walking so far to school because there is no bus service or other transportation. We have found a niche to support, and that’s where out focus will be for a while. If we think the need is great here, it is far greater in these rural areas,” Mr Abrahams said.

Tertia Damons, a teacher at Volmoed Primary School in Oudtshoorn, told Athlone News that last year’s donation of school shoes had made a huge impact in the lives of the children across the community.

“The need is so great in the community… I can’t tell you enough the big difference it has made for our children and in our community,” she said.

The acting principal of Aan De Doorns Primary School in Worcester, Herview Fraansman, said: “The project had a big impact on our learners and entire community for which it was a new experience. They not only handed out shoes but food as well. The children are so happy and still talking about the school shoes they received. It is much appreciated.”

A pupil from Volmoed Primary School in Oudtshoorn receives his new school shoes.