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Friday, September 22, 2023

Investing in the future – with school shoes

Without a good pair of school shoes, education and the opportunities it brings are much harder to achieve. Businesses, hospitals, non-profit organisations and individual donors have recently joined the My Walk “Step into Greatness” campaign, providing high quality school shoes to children in disadvantaged areas through an innovative upcycling project. For as little as R35, you too can donate a pair of school shoes and invest in a child’s future.

“As cold winter mornings are still biting across the country, we are inviting corporates and private citizens to ‘Step into Greatness’ by taking part in our drive to provide school shoes for learners, either in a specific community of their choosing or as part of wider social upliftment programmes,” says Delanie Bezuidenhout, general manager of the My Walk initiative, a social and environmental sustainability partnership between Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care.

“Essential footwear can make such a difference to a child’s daily life and their potential to make the most of the opportunities that education brings, with broader benefits for their communities over time. School shoes might be the difference between a child going to school or staying at home, limiting their options in years to come,” she says.

Since its inception, donations to My Walk have provided children across the country with over 54 500 pairs of much needed, brand new school shoes made from high quality recycled polyvinyl chloride (PVC) reclaimed from safe used healthcare consumables, including drip bags and tubing, at 20 participating Netcare hospitals in Gauteng.

“My Walk is a registered public benefit organisation (PBO) and can provide sponsors with an 18A certificate. Many donors also appreciate the environmental sustainability element of this initiative, which has reduced healthcare waste to landfill by over 59 427kgs. For each ton of PVC material recycled and repurposed to make these school shoes, we can prevent some 1.5 tons of greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere,” Bezuidenhout says.

Thousands of children benefit from internal campaigns

Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, Netcare’s group director human resources and transformation who is also chairperson of the My Walk Board, thanked everyone who supported Netcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care’s My Walk initiative, including the staff of both organisations who got involved.

“We are humbled by the great demonstration of our core value of Care from participating Netcare hospitals and their staff who rallied around earlier this year to donate 3 285 pairs of school shoes so far for their local communities. We see this as an encouraging starting point, setting the bar high for our future contributions,” he says.

In June, Adcock Ingram held an employee drive to raise funds for My Walk school shoes and for every pair of shoes the employees sponsored, Adcock Ingram matched the donation resulting in 10 056 pairs of shoes being donated, taking dcock Ingram’s sponsorship to date to a total of some 20 000 pairs.

Daniel Matabane, head of manufacturing primary plastics at Adcock Ingram Critical Care, adds: “The manufacturing and distribution of the school shoes is a heart-warming activity and it is a constant reminder that we can all make a difference to human life one step at the time. We would also like to echo Dr Ndzwayiba’s words to thank everyone who has and is continuing to contribute to this exciting and innovative project, including Bidvest which donated 13 000 pairs of My Walk school shoes. It is also just befitting to thank the leadership of both Netcare and Adcock Ingram for the foresight and agreeing to support this great initiative.”

Recently the Bryan Habana Foundation donated 3 000 pairs of school shoes to children at two schools in Alexandra and these shoes will be handed over to the pupils in August.

School shoes for KwaZulu-Natal flood survivors

Through the generous support of its sponsors and partners, My Walk donated 1 000 pairs of shoes to international humanitarian aid organisation, World Vision, to include as part of the wider assistance to communities in areas of KwaZulu-Natal that were recently devastated by floods.

“A further 1 000 pairs are being prepared for distribution through the Gift of the Givers Foundation disaster relief organisation as part of the amazing work they are doing for people who lost so much in the tragic floods,” Bezuidenhout adds.

Footprints to the future in North West

“When the My Walk initiative receive donations that have not been requested for a specific school or community, we support organisations such as Partners with Possibility,” she says. “This innovative programme aims to improve the quality of education through capacitating school principals in under resourced rural schools in the North West, and alleviating the challenges learners face,” she says.

“The generosity of corporate and individual donors equipping children with school shoes is a significant step towards addressing a common practical barrier to optimal educational participation. We would like to acknowledge Bidvest, Rand Mutual Bank (RMB), First National Bank (FNB), Investec, Cure Day Hospitals, the Dis-Chem Foundation, MultiChoice, Isegen, Sun Ace South Africa and Polyflor for their contributions,” Bezuidenhout says.

“We also thank Dr Tshepo Motsepe, Blind and Design, Oaktree Education, the Lions Club, Doxa Deo Church, Sasol Polymers, U-Serve, Specialised Exhibitions and the many others who have donated My Walk school shoes.

“Small steps today can set our children on the path to achieving their dreams and ambitions for the future. We hope that opening this sponsorship drive to the public and other businesses will make it possible for more children to receive shoes and ‘Step into Greatness’, growing the skills that will be crucial to empowering the next generation,” Bezuidenhout concludes.

Step into Greatness – Get involved and sponsor a child’s school shoes

To sponsor a child’s school shoes and make a difference through the My Walk 2022 initiative is simple.

1: Choose the amount you want to donate, for example: 

  • A pair of school shoes for one child – R35
  • Five pairs of school shoes for five learners – R175
  • Ten pairs of school shoes for 10 learners – R350

To enquire about bulk corporate orders, sponsorships or donations contact Delanie Bezuidenhout on [email protected].

2: Deposit your donation into the My Walk 2022 sponsorship bank account (See details below)

  • Account name: My Walk Made with Soul NPC
  • Account number: 62848314366
  • Bank: RMB
  • Account type: Corporate current account
  • Branch: 255005 RMB Corporate Banking Johannesburg
  • Swift code: FIRNZAJJ
  • Reference: Your Name

Money raised in this way will be used to donate shoes to children through non-profit organisations as part of wider community upliftment initiatives.

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