Standard Bank handed over a cheque of N$400000 to the Never Walk Alone project yesterday.
The handover was done by the bank’s chief executive officer, Mercia Gaises who recalled her barefoot journey while going to school in the Kunene region.
Gaises said about 90 000 children in the country go to school barefoot and that Never Walk Alone project is making significant progress in helping children to show up in a confident and dignified way when they attend school.
“The N$400 000 that Standard Bank sponsored is going to have shoes delivered and distributed to about 1 250 children,” she said.
Statistics show that over 300 million children around the world cannot afford shoes and are going barefoot, and in Namibia, thousands of children in both urban and rural Namibia go through the same experience every day walking to school barefoot.
The Never Walk Alone project aims to restore the dignity of Namibian children by giving them school shoes.
According to Tim Ekandjo, the project founder, a child without shoes is normally one of the most visible signs of poverty.
Ekandjo said children who get to school without shoes are always at risk of being teased and undermined by their friends, and it affects their self-confidence.
“This is not only a school shoe project because you do not just need shoes to go to school. This is a shoe for life project,” he said.
He stated that from about 90000 people on the database, nearly 80% of them are school going children, adding that the project started off with children because they are the most vulnerable.
“It is not just for kids, but grown elders in the informal settlement also receive shoes.”
Ekandjo said Kavango East tops the list of children without school shoes and requires about 15000 pairs, followed by Ohangwena region with 10 000, Kunene 4 813, Omusati 4 020, and Otjozondjupa region.
He noted that the project requires a budget of about N$18 million to reach all 90000 children.
“The Never Walk Alone project with its five year plan has collected about N$3.1 million from sponsorships only,”he said.
Ekandjo said the project has delivered 6200 pairs of shoes in a year and is targeting 10000 pairs this year.
“The next region to be paid a visit will be the Kunene region where we will go to the Outjo circuit in February where 1275 pairs of shoes will be given from the N$400 000 handed over by Standard Bank.”
He said 80% of the materials are sourced locally and Shilongo leather works will be giving the project a 35% discount on bulk orders.