BY: Amanda Mkhize.

Children in South Africa are among the more than seven million students who do not have shoes, which makes it difficult to get to school every day, with some walking long distances.

To help put the bounce back into the step of underprivileged children from its surrounding areas, Meropa Casino & Entertainment World donated 476 shoes to five township schools in Polokwane. The donations, valued at R100,000, were made in January 2023 when all the schools opened for the new year.

The schools that were part of the Back to School campaign included: Toronto Primary School (Mankweng Zone B) with 97 pairs of shoes, Boiketlo Primary School (Seshego Zone 3) with 147 pairs, Frans Mohlala High School (behind Mankweng Hospital) with 75 pairs, Makgongoana High School (Ga-Makanye) with 79 pairs, and Ramashobohle High School (Next to University of Limpopo) with 78 pairs.

General Manager Sammy Mokhele said, “It was a great delight to see the kids smiling from this act of kindness, which is part of our initiative to encourage learners to take their education seriously, regardless of their financial conditions.”

In attendance at the handover at one of the schools, Frans Mohlala High School in Mankweng, was the MEC for the Department of Limpopo Economic Development, Environment, and Tourism, Thabo Andrew Mokone as well as representatives from the Limpopo Gambling Board.

“This donation is part of our Back to School campaign, which fits into our overall Corporate Social Investment drive,” says Mokhele. He pointed out that many parents do not work in the areas in which shoes were donated, especially in the wake of the bad economy as well as the devastation caused by Covid-19.

“This is where big corporates like us and many others can identify needs and we make sure that children do not skip school.”

He added that such initiatives should not just happen before school starts, but throughout the year, especially as children’s feet grow so quickly. “We appeal to fellow corporates within the province to make this a year-round project.”


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