School shoes give Duncan Village pupils a chance to shine

FEBRUARY 1, 2016

Pupils from five primary schools in poverty-stricken Duncan Village will have an easier road to travel after receiving brand-new school shoes on Thursday.

Almost 400 underprivileged children from the Nontuthuzelo, Makinana, Nompumelelo, Masakhane and Lujiza schools received shiny new footwear to make their daily walk to school a little easier.

The shoes were the result of a R50 000 donation from the Billion Group, founded by East London-born business magnate Sisa Ngebulana, the property developer behind East London’s Hemingways Mall, Mdantsane City Mall and BT Ngebs City in Mthatha.

According to head of marketing for the group Deborah Bailey, the recipients were identified by non-profit organisation Sakhisizwe Projects and Feeding Organisation, which works towards the upliftment of communities in East London and surrounds.

“Sakhisizwe has a network of caregivers who are allocated to the various schools in East London. They identified students who were in extreme need and we purchased the correct size shoes for each of them,” said Bailey.

She said the school shoe initiative dovetailed perfectly with the group’s corporate social investment focus on assisting the youth through education.

“So when a school shoe drive like this arises, we are honoured to assist as this is seen as a mechanism to aid students and make their school year more manageable.”

Bailey said most of the students had worn-out shoes and many resorted to walking to school barefoot.

Sakhisizwe spokesperson Nkosinathi Sikobi said the idea behind the shoe drive was to interact with local schools and caregivers to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children in the community.

“We found out that some of these kids come from very poor backgrounds. Some are orphans and cannot afford even basic necessities let alone school uniforms and shoes; and many come to school on an empty stomach.”

Sikobi said others had parents who were unemployed or depended on social grants to eke out an existence.

“Some of these kids are very good at school and we wanted to show them that we care and are here for them.

“Billion Group has helped us to assist those who have worn-out shoes or no shoes at all and give them a chance to feel that they are no different from their fellow pupils.”

Image: Hemingways Mall marketing manager Estee Roos helps a young Makinana Primary schoolboy to tie the laces on his brand-new school shoes, which were part of a R50 000 shoe drive sponsored by the Billion Group.