(East London) – Two of East London’s landmark shopping centres – Mdantsane City and Hemingways Mall – have come together as part of a national campaign to give school shoes to underprivileged children at the start of the new school year.
The sister malls, which are owned by South Africa’s largest black-owned JSE-listed property group, Rebosis Property Fund, are handing over a combined R100,000 worth of new shoes this week in an effort to improve school attendance and bolster education in the Eastern Cape.
On Monday (January 30), Mdantsane City kicked off the East London campaign, with provincial MEC for education Mandla Makupula giving new footwear to 371 needy pupils from nine primary schools in the most poverty-stricken parts of Mdantsane. The participating schools included Sandisiwe, Sakhikhaya, Lwandisa, Funulwazi, Nontsikelelo, Inkqubela, Embekweni, Isibane and Nobhotwe primary schools.
Mdantsane City general manager Dean Deary said the underprivileged pupils had also been treated to lunch from the KFC outlet at the mall.
“Mdantsane City is proud to be part of this initiative, which embraces the growth of our community and assists the people of Mdantsane,” he said.
Deary said something as simple as a pair of shoes could have a major impact on a child who had to walk to school barefoot every day.
Later this week, Hemingways Mall will also play its part, as 536 children from five schools in impoverished Duncan Village receive their footwear. The represented schools include Nontuthuzelo, Makinana, Nompumelelo, Lujiza and Masakhe primary schools.
General manager Reinette van Tonder said instilling pride among pupils would help them to succeed in often-difficult circumstances.
“We are honoured to be making a difference to our underprivileged learners by gifting them with a sense of self-confidence and belonging as they walk the road to an education. The young pupils of East London are our city’s future.”
According to Rebosis group marketing manager Deborah Bailey, providing school shoes is a tangible and practical solution, giving relief to the children – many of whom cannot afford public transport and are forced to walk long distances each day.
“As part of our social and ethical mandate, Rebosis Property Fund has recognised an overwhelming need to contribute positively to communities surrounding its shopping centres,” said Bailey.
She said each of Rebosis’s four major malls – Forest Hill City in Centurion, Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, and Hemingways Mall and Mdantsane City in East London – had carefully selected their beneficiary schools according to need within their respective communities. The combined value of this community-focused national programme was R200,000, she said.