According to a recent Unicef report, 11.9m children live in poverty in South Africa, which for many means new school shoes are unaffordable.
These children are expected to walk long distances to school – often over rough terrain such as gravel roads or footpaths.
Recognising the importance of correctly fitting and comfortable shoes for pupils, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa pledged R150,000 and lobbied its suppliers to assist further.
As a result, a total of R280,000 was raised to equip underprivileged children in the rural areas surrounding their Ladysmith manufacturing plant with brand new school shoes for the 2020 school year.
Education is one of our key CSI pillars and we work steadfastly to improve the outcomes of the learners at these two high schools. This campaign was a part of our continued support.Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Dunlop
Partnering with Ntenga Footwear and Bhanas Wholesalers, the company delivered a total of 1,670 pairs of brand new school shoes to pupils from grades eight to 11 at the Bhekinthuthuko Secondary and Steadville High schools.
Shoes are recognised as a symbol of pride in many communities and cultures. Children are often teased or miss school due to the lack of or poor condition of their shoes, especially in the cold winter months.Riaz Haffejee
Bhekinthuthuko Secondary School principal, Mr Madonsela, said: “Earlier in 2019, Sumitomo Dunlop donated a fully equipped classroom to our school, providing our matric learners with an excellent environment in which to learn and prepare for their final examinations. Our learners and their families are going to be so incredibly grateful for these shoes.
Steadville High School’s head, Mrs Shabalala, said: “This is indeed a joyous end to 2019 for our learners. We are overwhelmed by this donation.”