Sixty pupils at Sonderend Primary School in Manenberg were ecstatic to receive new school shoes on Wednesday May 5, thanks to resident Sebastian Haricombe.
Sonderend was among 11 schools in Manenberg and Atlantis which benefited from the donation.
Mr Haricombe started the charity drive five years ago when he realised that many children go to school with no or broken school shoes, or even takkies.
At the age of 10, he joined the Naughty Boys gang, but after being stabbed four times, he decided to leave it, and by age18 he was going to church where he became a changed man.
Five years ago, he started volunteering at schools in Manenberg, talking to the children about drugs and gangsterism. One thing struck home for him – the children desperately needed shoes.
The other schools in Manenberg which also benefited from the school shoe donation are Downville, Edendale, Manenberg, Primrose Park and Easter Peak primary schools, and in Atlantis, Kerria, Saxonsea, Hermes, Berzelia, Grosvenor and Protea Park primary schools.
Mr Haricombe received donations from various businesses, including Joey Steel Company, Koeberg Fish Shop, Berzacks, Cool Bananas, Broadway Deli, Fomento’s Bakery, Koeberg Pharmacy, Millennium Plastic, Auto wizz, German grocer, and Eagle Lighting management.
The schools who also donated were Protea Park, Edendale, Sonderend, Downville and Primrose Park primary schools. He also received donations from various people from Manenberg, Michell’s Plain, Bonteheuwel, Heideveld, Hanover Park, Atlantis, Lavender Hill, and Facreton.
Mr Haricombe said he would like to thank all those on the train, the bus and in the taxi queues who donated money as well as those who bought cake from the weekly cake sales to boost the cause.
“Natasha Naicker from Durban donated R50 every week because she has a passion to help underprivileged children. She grew up without a father and said that her mother raised her and two sisters,” he said.
The donations amounted to R30 000.
On the day of the handover, Shoprite was also at the school to give each child a cup of soup and a slice of bread.
Mr Haricombe said he was really thankful to all those who donated, no matter what the size of the donation because the children really need proper school shoes before winter starts.
“The children need much more than shoes – some have holes in their pants and jerseys but if we get more donations, we can do more,” he said.
Leon Beukes, principal of Sonderend Primary School, said he was very thankful to Mr Haricombe for the work that he was doing in the community.
“It means alot to our school because most of the parents are jobless and they can’t afford school shoes and clothes. The teachers have chosen the pupils in the class who haven’t got shoes. Their parents actually don’t know that they are receiving shoes today so it’ll be a nice surprise,” said Mr Beukes.
He said the donations were really important because discipline started with a proper school uniform.
“If pupils come without a school uniform they think they don’t have to adhere to school rules and we don’t get good discipline from them,” he said.
For more information on the school shoe project and how you can help, call Mr Haricombe on 063 776 4969.