Children from the Rocklands community are stepping into the school year with shiny new shoes thanks to a Uitenhage charity’s donation of 100 pairs.
Members of The Extended Hand nonprofit organisation, which was established in 2005, were introduced to the plight of the poverty-stricken community late last year.
Through acquiring sponsorships from Volkswagen and Uitenhage Pep Stores, the group managed to ease the community’s struggle when they handed over more than 100 pairs of school shoes on Saturday.
Extended Hand chairman Frank Japhta said they had no option but to intervene once they had experienced the difficult conditions of the community.
“These people have nothing. When we first got there and were shown around the place, it became clear that we had to do something to help. We could not just allow it to go on like this,” Japhta said.
“And these families are so grateful for it. Our purpose is to help, and it is really rewarding to see that in action.”
The Extended Hand mission statement is: “To bring the revolution in poor and needy people and [bring] them to mainstream society by providing health, education, training and basic needs, especially for the development of children.”
According to the NPO’s treasurer, Emmerson Jackson, this is the reason the six-member organisation has continued to go from strength to strength.
“Our backgrounds are in Christ. We are all born-again Christians, so all the work we do is for God. Not money, not fame – just for God. We took on this project because we saw the conditions and realised something had to be done.
“Our next project starts at the end of the month, when we will start with vegetable gardens there, at homes where each family takes responsibility to grow their own veggies,” Jackson said.
Pep area manager Johnny de Jager said: “This is our way of giving back to the community, which so regularly gives to us. It is important for Pep to give back and empower the community through our participating in projects that show them our support.”
– Treamaine van Aardt