Shoes put smiles on Manenberg pupils’ faces

The Lace Up for Change non-profit organisation donated 885 pairs of shoes to Red River Primary School.

Nearly 900 children at Manenberg’s Red River Primary School were thrilled to receive new school shoes from the Lace Up for Change non-profit organisation last week.

The children often came to school with broken shoes, sandals, and takkies which made them feel insecure and ashamed, said acting principal Eugene Abrahams.

One of the founders of Lace Up for Change, Irafaan Abrahams, speaks to Red River Primary School pupils.

He said that the donation of 885 shoes was greatly appreciated and much needed. Mr Abrahams said that most pupils came from struggling backgrounds and depended on social grants to keep them afloat.

“School shoes often then goes to the bottom of the list, that is if it makes it onto the list at all. Families can hardly live on a social grant, they are struggling,” he said.

Lace Up for Change was started six years ago when one of the founders, Faiez Jacobs, was recovering from surgery after having been diagnosed with rectal cancer. He shared his idea for the organisation with Mr Abrahams.

Members of the NPO run a certain number of kilometres in marathons for which the public donates money. This money is used for various charity projects under the Lace Up for Change banner.

One of the founders of Lace Up for Change, Irafaan Abrahams, said that this year the NPO was able to raise R300 000 to buy shoes for 15 schools. From January 6 last year, Mr Abrahams ran marathons once a week to raise the funds.

At the handover, from left, are Salie Price, Irafaan Abrahams and Red River Primary School principal Eugene Peters.

He said that the condition of the pupils’ shoes was disheartening, and it was clear that every effort had been made to fix the broken shoes. He said the excitement on the pupils’ faces made every mile he had run worthwhile.

“Once pupils received their new box of shoes, they held on to it so tightly, afraid that someone would take it away, and we reassured them that it was theirs to keep. We also gave them warm akhni for lunch, and the pupils were very happy to receive it,” he said.

The children also each received a warm portion of akhni for lunch.

Manenberg ward councillor Aslam Cassiem said that most parents of pupils at the school were unemployed. He said that after using their social grants on food, water, and electricity everything else became a luxury.

“It is a huge help to the community when NGOs come along and assist schools. Children don’t want to go to school barefoot – it breaks their hearts and confidence and their general well-being is then affected,” he said.

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