RUNDU - In efforts to prevent children from sharing shoes just to attend school, ReconAfrica, through the ‘Project Never Walk Alone’, recently donated 2 000 pairs of shoes to learners in the Kavango East and West regions.
Ndapewoshali Shapwanale, the communications and stakeholder relations officer at the oil and gas exploration firm currently busy with exploration in Kavango East, said this during the handing over of shoes at Sauyemwa Combined School last week. “We are very aware that some children in households or homesteads share shoes in order to go to school on separate days, and we are very aware that in winter, children wear shoes without socks or wear sandals,” she said.
Shapwanale reiterated that they are not doing this because they seek recognition, saying they want to impact the region far beyond finding oil which will change the lives of the inhabitants for the better.
‘Project Never Walk Alone’ is a non-profit initiative aiming to put a pair of shoes on the feet of every Namibian child without. It was founded by MTC executive Tim Ekandjo last year. Shapwanale further said that when the project approached them to assist with 25% of the amount needed to buy the 2 000 pairs, ReconAfrica decided to cover 100% of what was required.
“For us, these shoes are not something that keeps your feet out of dirt or keeps you warm; it’s a foundation that we are building,” she noted.
Deputy education minister Faustina Caley attested to the hardships of not having shoes, saying she walked bare feet to school for more than four kilometres, encountered thorns and it was worse in winter. “But I told myself that school will change my life and my kids will never suffer the way I did, now here I am. If you work hard in school, you will be better than me.”
She urged the learners to take care of their shoes as well as focus on their education as that will give them a brighter future.
During the handover, female learners also received sanitary pads, and Shoprite donated soap and Colgate toothpaste.
The 1 000 pairs of shoes for Kavango West will be handed to learners in the next school term.
On his part, Ekandjo said they will go to every school and every home and make sure that no Namibian child will ever have to walk bare feet. The project thus far donated 1 000 pairs of shoes in the Hardap region, 1 300 in Omaheke, 350 in Khomas, and 1 300 in Erongo.
“We want these regions to produce good quality Namibians and be the hope for Namibia when it comes to education. We want the next president or executives to come from these schools, to be amongst you,” Ekandjo noted. He urged the learners to pass on the shoes to others when it does not fit them anymore. - firstname.lastname@example.org