School kids welcome gift of shoes

NEWLY SHOD: At Zwide’s Emsengeni Primary School yesterday, Lephuphalethu Foundation members hand out new shoes. Here are, from left, back, Sechaba Lehana, Amthandile Malidile, 6, councillor Nqaba Bhanga, Sinethemba Madoke, 9, and McDonald Yonke, and, front, Langa Hatana, Luphulo Mlunguzi, 10, Emuthangesi Wani, 12, and Tamie Nyati

Today 50 schoolchildren are heading off to school with brand new shoes, thanks to a group that identified a need.

Parents and teachers from Zwide’s Emsengeni Primary School came out in numbers to witness the handover yesterday by the Lephuphalethu Foundation.

Lephuphalethu founders Sechaba Lehana, Langa Hafana, Nkokheli Yonke and Thamsanqa Nyathi, all 39, were welcomed with cheerful chants.

Nyathi said: “We’re a group of friends from different Port Elizabeth townships.

“[Starting this foundation] was our way of giving back to our community.

“We’ve donated blankets and held other drives before, but this time we wanted to do something encouraging.

“[Since] winter is upon us and many children go without shoes, that could prevent them from going to school.

“Education is very important to us. We know that it will make quite a difference.”

Nelson Mandela Bay human settlements political head Nqaba Bhanga, also present at the handover, said: “What these gentlemen have done today is commendable.

“When I was young I also went to school without shoes and sometimes my uniform would be torn, but I never gave up.

“I hope that what these gentlemen have done today will not only encourage our children but also make them want to give back when they are able to,” he said.

Principal Luyanda Nyoka, 48, said: “I am so happy that these gentlemen fulfilled their promise to us.”

Noluthando Mava, who has a grandchild in Grade 2 at the school, said: “I’m glad my grandchild won’t have thorns in his feet as I used to because I had no shoes.”

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