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MOKOPANE - In July, employees from the Mokopane Woolworths stores visited Weenen Combined School and Letamong Combined School outside Mokopane area for a special handover. In celebration of 2017 Mandela Day, 156 children at the schools will be starting off the new term in brand new school shoes thanks to individual donations from Woolies Head Office employees.
The school is part of the the National Education Collaboration Trust’s (NECT) Fresh Start Schools (FSS) project and the learners were identified as being in dire need of a pair of school shoes.
As a responsible corporate citizen, Woolworths has always encouraged its employees to commemorate Mandela Day through a variety of initiatives. This year, in line with the retailer’s Corporate Social Investment programme, managed by the Woolworths Trust, the employees of Woolworths’ Head Office and various stores around the country built on the success of their innovative school shoes donation campaign which was launched on last years’ Mandela Day in partnership NECT.
This year, NECT identified over 1100 children at severely under-resourced FSS schools who are in need of a new pair of school shoes. “It’s hard to have a healthy sense of self-worth and a hopeful outlook on life when you walk for kilometres every day in broken or ill-fitting school shoes,” points out NECT CEO, Godwin Khosa, “The Woolies employees’ new school shoes campaign makes a real difference to the way that children who made vulnerable by poverty, think and feel about themselves. It is a bright and positive Madiba Day effort that will enable these children to step up and feel part of the dynamic potential of South African youth.”
The children each decorated a paper cut-out in the shape of a sole of a shoe and drew what they would like to be when they are grown up. The footprints were put on display at Woolies head office where employees chose to support a specific child by donating R67 or more a new pair of school shoes, with Woolworths covering the balance. Now store employees will complete their collaboration with Head Office by delivering the brand new pairs of high quality school shoes to the children during the first week of the new school term.
“This is a highly relevant celebration of Mandela Day that has really touched the hearts and minds of Woolies employees,” says Zinzi Mgolodela, the Head of Transformation at Woolworths, “Preserving the dignity of the vulnerable was something Madiba felt strongly about and talked about often. There are millions of South African school children who go to school without proper school shoes and this lack tends to have long-term impacts on the self-worth of each one of them.”
Education has been a key focus of the Woolworths Trust for almost two decades. Through its partnership with NECT, as well as the MySchool, EduPlant and Woolworths Making the Difference educational programmes, Woolworths has been helping schools to improve teaching and learning, school environments and school management. To date, Woolworths has given back over R400 million to more than 8 000 schools through the MySchool fundraising programme and has provided funding of R8 million rand in its on-going partnership with NECT.
From left to right: Rina Choke from Woolworths Mokopane store with Philemon Makalela, Mpho Sekwadi and Tebogo Makdiela from Weenan Combined School after receiving their brand new Woolies school shoes thanks to Woolworths Mokopane store and headoffice employees.