Pupils at Searidge Park Primary School in Tafelsig were given shoes and socks by the school last week.
Principal Alfred du Plessis said they decided to help pupils whom they had noticed were struggling during the cold winter months. “We noticed that there are many children who don’t attend school regularly because do not have school shoes.
“For the last three years this has been one of our projects. We approached companies and asked for help. This year we identified about 73 children who were desperately need of school shoes and socks. And we were fortunate that, within a space of two months, we were able to reach our target,” he said.
Mr Du Plessis said they intended to run the project every year. “We are glad that, as a school, we can also assist the community.”
He said they also collect sanitary pads for girls, and toothpaste, soap and face cloths for needy parents.
Explaining how recipients were chosen, Mr Du Plessis said: “We have our feeding scheme committee which identifies the desperate children from the beginning of the year. Most of these pupils come from unemployed families. And we believe that for them (pupils) having these shoes will change their school attendance and bring back their self esteem and help them to focus more on their studies,” he explained.
He urged parents to encourage the children to take care of their shoes.
An excited Grade 5 pupil, Fayrouz Absolom, 11, thanked the school for its support and pledged to attend school regularly. “I’m so happy to have new shoes. My shoes were too old. Sometimes it was difficult to come to school especially when it’s raining,” said Fayrouz.
Parent Berian Green, from Tafelsig, added: “I am so excited now that the school takes care of and shows interest in our children. I am unemployed, I survived by doing odd jobs,” said the father of two.
Betty Viljoen, also from Tafelsig, said she appreciated the initiative taken by the school and urged them to keep supporting the children. “I am looking after my four grandchildren. My daughter died last year. I am unemployed, only depending on a child support grant,” she said.