TWO of East London’s landmark shopping centres have come together as part of a national campaign to give school shoes to underprivileged children.
Mdantsane City and Hemingways Mall, sister malls owned by South Africa’s largest black-owned JSE-listed property group, Rebosis Property Fund, were handing over a combined R100000 worth of new shoes this week in an effort to improve school attendance and bolster education in the Eastern Cape.
On Monday, 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. They 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 at the mall. “Mdantsane City is proud to be part of this initiative, which embraces the growth of our community,” Deary said.
He 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.
Hemingways also played its part as 536 children from five schools in impoverished Duncan Village received footwear. Hemingways 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 pupils by gifting them with a sense of self-confidence as they walk the road to an education,” Van Tonder said.
“The provision of school shoes by Rebosis means that corporates are partnering with government to realise the call [by government] to let education be a societal matter. We appeal to the communities to also throw in something to assist because if we support the kids, one could become president or a doctor,” said provincial education spokesman Malibongwe Mtima.
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.”
Bailey said each of Rebosis’s four major malls – Forest Hill City in Centurion, Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, and Hemingways and Mdantsane City in East London – had selected their beneficiary schools according to need within their respective communities.
The combined value of this community-focused national programme was R200000.