On Tuesday 14 February 2017, Transnet Port Terminals [TPT] shared more than just love with the pupils of Entuthukweni Primary School in Lamontville, KZN. A significant donation of school shoes was handed over to the disadvantaged students at the school by Transnet Port Terminals. Now in its third year, this CSR initiative targeted at uplifting youth was established by TPT and has seen the partnering of Toughees shoes for the first time.

The ‘Shoes on Feet’ initiative started in 2014 as a tribute to South Africa’s late president as a means of putting shoes on the feet of underprivileged learners from the different regions that TPT operates in. In commemoration of the great Nelson Mandela’s passing, December is the official start date to the collection of school shoes by all TPT employees in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal regions.

“We believe it’s important to help and give back to the communities we operate in, which is why each year we look to support children in the different regions across South Africa who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Often these children walk long distances to and from school without any shoes. School shoes are the foundation of a young child’s dignity, and in South Africa there are children who avoid going to school out of embarrassment of not owning a pair of school shoes. Learners need to be encouraged to continue with school and shoes should not be another barrier a learner must overcome in order to have a positive schooling experience. Transnet Port Terminals aim with this initiative is to restore ‘hope, pride, and dignity’ in underprivileged children,” stated Zeph Ndlovu, TPT General Manager of Risk, Safety, Security and Corporate Affairs.

According to Miss Tsekiso, Principal at Entuthukweni Primary, the 80 pairs of school shoes donated to pupils in various Grades at Entuthukweni Primary has brought much hope to the start of the new school year for these children who lack even the most basic school essentials. “We are so grateful to have been selected by Transnet Port Terminals for this year’s donation of school shoes to our children. Our school is one of the disadvantaged schools in this area that services the children from the nearby informal settlement of Lamontville. It’s a community where many of the children come from child headed households and as a result they are faced with many challenges. Providing them with the comfort and dignity of school shoes means the world to them,” said Miss Tsekiso.

The Lamontville School has grades R to 7 with 800 learners taught by 21 educators. The Department of Education’s Circuit Manager of Entuthukweni, Miss Nomusa Shamase, addressed the learners at the handover saying that the donation of these shoes will go a long way in ensuring that these children come to school daily – even in winter, because they now have shoes on their feet. She added, “As the government we can only succeed through these public partnerships with businesses out there, like Transnet Port Terminals. Thank you Transnet Port Terminals and we hope they will continue giving to the schools to help students in South Africa get the best education possible, because as Nelson Mandela said education is the only weapon that can change the lives of our children.”

This handover is the first of a number of handovers by TPT across the country that will be taking place over the month of February to other needy schools in the regions of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and North Coast of KZN.