17 March 2022
A bank's humanitarian intervention has instilled in some 450 of South Africa's vulnerable young learners, a renewed sense of confidence and dignity by making available brand new school shoes.
"Nobody chooses to live in poverty, but circumstance has left so many of our country's people with no other alternative, with many of the young-bearing the ridicule and humiliation of attending school barefoot because their parents are unable to adequately clothe them for classes," said Al Baraka Bank's Sustainability and Social Responsibility Officer, Ms Fathima Mohamed.
She was commenting on the Bank's 2022 national annual school shoe distribution drive, which is geared towards putting shoes on the feet of destitute young learners, giving them a sense of dignity and assisting in the removal of obstacles to a sound education.
"The potential for learning is severely diminished for learners without school shoes. Many walk long distances over rough terrain, others drop-out in Winter because of the biting cold affecting their bare feet and others attending classes are often unable to focus on their lessons because of a feeling of discomfort and inadequacy."
"None of this is conducive to the effective absorption of knowledge, and yet it is the daily challenge so many of South Africa's youngsters face," Ms Mohamed said.
Difficult economic conditions, soaring unemployment and inadequate social grants are leaving increasing numbers of parents and their children in a vulnerable state, exacerbating this country's poverty cycle.
"The effective education and development of our country's children is the only way to truly break that cycle and we cannot stand idly by in the knowledge that the true potential of so many is being compromised through the lack of adequate and appropriate footwear," she said.
The Bank's 2022 school shoe drive set out to identify some 450 particularly deserving youngsters attending five specifically targeted schools in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The Bank presented new shoes to impoverished learners at Durban's Rippon Primary School as part of its drive to assist learners.
In addition, the Cape Town and Johannesburg components of the initiative saw learners at Modderdam High School, Intsebenziswano High School and Cypress Primary School, all in Cape Town, and learners at Johannesburg's Sithandile Michaels Foundation benefit from the presentation of brand new school shoes.
Commenting on its latest school shoe distribution drive, Ms Mohamed said: "Al Baraka Bank is intent on making a positive impact, albeit small, on poverty and, in particular, the lives of the innocent who are worst affected – our young people, the future of South Africa."