‘One Day Without Shoes’ without money

GO BAREFOOT:  One day Without Shoes will be held at the library lawns all day today. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

GO BAREFOOT: One day Without Shoes will is happening at the library lawns all day today.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Despite collecting close to 1000 pairs of shoes for underprivileged kids in last year’s One Day Without Shoes, this year’s event at Wits was organised with no finances.

The Wits One Day Without Shoes 2014 event, happening today, April 29, on the library lawns, is a global awareness day for children who do not have shoes.

Participants spend a day without shoes on their feet as they go about their daily activities. They are also encouraged to donate a pair of shoes to the initiative. This year though, the organising committee found themselves relying on donations to make the event a reality.

“We got lots of donations, like the stickers were donated,” said Wayne Mahlanga, a member of the organising team. Jo Anne Tomlinson, also a part of the team, said it was difficult to organise the event without a budget.

Tomlinson hopes this year’s event will raise enough interest to continue the legacy of the initiative once she graduates. The money made from selling stickers will go towards next year’s budget, to make it easier for the organisers, she said.

“Karuna Singh, Wits Citizenship Community Outreach (Wits CCO) manager was supportive and got so many people involved,” said Tomlinson. “She got us everything we needed from Wits,” said Mahlanga.

The team also received significant assistance from theStudent Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU).

The event today hopes to get as many donations as possible but it also intends to raise awareness among Witsies about kids who cannot afford a pair of shoes.

Witsies put their bare feet forward

BAREFOOT BEAUTIES: From left to right, Nelisa Ngcobo, 2nd year BA, Mungi Llale, $th year Dramatic Arts and Ziyanda Ngcobo, 3rd year BA

BAREFOOT BEAUTIES: From left to right, Nelisa Ngcobo, 2nd year BA, Mungi Llale, 4th year Dramatic Arts and Ziyanda Ngcobo, 3rd year BA. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

Witsies braved stale urine, glass and camel droppings on April 16 when they came to campus barefoot in support of the One Day Without Shoes initiative.

The Wits Volunteer Programme (WVP) hosted an event to raise awareness for the drive, which aims to collect shoes for underprivileged children. Witsies attended the event barefoot to show their support and donated shoes.
A “path without shoes” was created on library lawns, from sand, dried grass, rocks and bits of Lego. The barefoot students were encouraged to walk across it to make them aware of how tough it could be to walk across these kinds of surfaces.

SHOES FOR WHO?: Students take on the "Path Without Shoes" to understand what it is like to live without shoes. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

SHOES FOR WHO?: Students take on the “Path Without Shoes” to understand what it is like to live without shoes. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

But perhaps a normal walk across campus provided the greatest challenge. Besides camels offering rides, and depositing droppings, on Library Lawns, Wits Vuvuzela caught the scent of urine in corners and saw broken glass on pathways.
“We take shoes for granted…in some developing countries some kids are not allowed to go to school if they don’t have shoes,” said Joanne Tomlinson, 2nd year BA and co-founder of the initiative at Wits.

Some kids were denied the opportunity to get an education, simply because they did not have shoes.Children also get cuts on their feet, which turn septic over time, she said. They caught diseases which were completely preventable.

One Day Without Shoes is an initiative that was originally started by the American shoe company TOMS. “For every pair of shoes they [TOMS] sell they give one away… They have actually handed out some in Diepsloot. They take each individual pair and fit it onto a kid’s feet. They don’t just drop the shoes off,” said Tomlinson.
Asked by Wits Vuvuzela how she had survived her day without shoes, Vivien Teijlingem, 1st year Fine Arts, said: “It’s nice for us to get to experience how tough it is walking without shoes, so we can care and understand what people go through.”
BSC student Khosa Solly,added: “We can feel the pain that they [children who go to school without shoes] feel today, which will raise awareness.”

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l74rPUS-lA&w=560&h=315]

 

Tomlinson said she was grateful for the support the initiative had received from the WVP. Karuna Singh of the WVP attended the event barefoot.

Those who missed out on Tuesday can still donate shoes at the WVP offices in Senate House, Tomlinson said the shoes collected on campus would be given to the Bryanston Bible Church, who run a number of community outreach initiatives.