07 March 2021
Pretoria – The One Million School Shoes Campaign on Saturday distributed 500 pairs of brand new shoes to needy learners at Orange Farm in Gauteng.
The shoes were donated by Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong, who has actively embraced the campaign since his arrival in South Africa last year.
“We are delighted to have been able to make this humble contribution to the needy learners. As the campaign, we have since inception collected over 150 000 pairs which were donated by individuals, companies and foreign representatives in South Africa. We are committed to make a total donation of 1 million in our lifetime. Our commitment is to see learners succeed in their education and improving their lives for the better,” said Campaign secretary Brian Dube said.
Expressing his support for the Campaign, Ambassador Chen Xiadong in a speech read on his behalf, said many families are struggling to meet financial demands due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When I first arrived in South Africa in September last year, I heard that due to the financial straits caused by the pandemic, many students’ families even had difficulties in buying school shoes. So I immediately expressed my hope to make more contributions to One Million Shoes project, ” said Chen.
“So far, we have donated 2 000 pairs of school shoes. Although the number is not big, it embodies the Chinese Embassy’s support for local community education.”
The Ambassador said that education is amongst the top agenda for China-South Africa co-operation and it is the main path to get rid of poverty.
“We will therefore continue to support this initiative so that more underprivileged children can get new school shoes and finish their education with dignity , as former President [Nelson] Mandela said, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to get rid of poverty,” said Chen.
“As a Chinese saying goes ‘education comes first in poverty alleviation’. When summarizing China’s successful experience in scoring a complete victory in the fight against poverty, Chinese President Xi Jinping also emphasized that education is the fundamental way to shake off poverty.”
The One Million School Shoes Campaign said later this month the initiative will be in Mpumalanga where they will donate another 500 pairs of brand new school shoes.