In 2017 SoleLution shoe shops in Portishead High Street and Boyce’s Avenue, Clifton, collected hundreds of donations of unwanted but wearable pairs of school shoes. The shoes were split between Educate the Kids which runs the Jolaurabi school near Mombasa, Kenya and the Za Foundation, a locally based charity that runs an after school facility for children affected and often orphaned by AIDS in South Africa and helps them to get an education.
When shop owner Tanya Marriott heard that the pupils at the Jolaurabi school would receive the shoes in January this year, she self funded a trip to take her and her 10-year-old son George over to Mombasa to help fit the shoes.
Tanya said: “It was the most amazing trip. It was a very different way of fitting shoes as we didn’t have the luxury of a sorted stock room and measuring gauges, although I am donating a couple to make things easier when they need new shoes for the children in the future. We laid the shoes out in rough size order, and the kids who needed shoes were lined up to be fitted.”
Tanya trained two of the local teachers and a volunteer, explaining it was important to give some growing room and between them, over two days they fitted more than 300 pairs of shoes and gave each child at least one pair of clean, new socks.
Tanya added: “The state of some of their old shoes was horrific – some with barely a sole. Shoes protect the children’s feet from many diseases and make the long walk to and from school more comfortable. Education could be the step up these children need, to help them escape from poverty and have hope for their future.”
Tanya, a mum of two, is now keen to continue to support Educate the Kids and would like other footwear stores to join the campaign to help these children who are desperate to better themselves.
There is a shoe collection point in-store at Tanya’s shops and for each pair of school shoes in wearable condition that are given in to the shop, SoleLution gives a £1 voucher towards a new pair of school shoes purchased at the shop. Find out more at www.educatethekids.com or contact Tanya at firstname.lastname@example.org