Energy & Environment

Saturday, 23 July 2011 14:30

70, 000 kids receive school shoes

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Over 70 000 school children have received new school shoes across Gauteng through a community initiative that recognises the need to answer basic needs in order to ensure successful learning.
Securing a tender with the Gauteng Department of Social Services from July 2008, uJima Bakoena Shoe Cooperative has distributed more than 70 000 pairs of shoes to March 2009. “We are pleased to be doing great things for those children in need and aim to offer our services countrywide,” says Fikile Zikhala, spokesperson for the Cooperative.

Offering children from disadvantaged communities the opportunity to walk into their schools with dignity is only one of many goals that the Cooperative aims to achieve.

The Cooperative, specialising in the manufacturing and distribution of school shoes to poor communities, was founded in July 2008 by a group of 19 members from the shoe manufacturing industry. These members, other than possessing shoe making skills, are also knowledgeable on marketing and management skills relevant to their area of operation.

It aims to offer community-driven solutions to the difficulties faced in South Africa. “The Cooperative understands that Government alone cannot create jobs for all the people,” says Zikhali, which is why they are looking at ways to expand the cooperative.

The Cooperative has received R890 070 in funding from the National Development Agency (NDA), which has been put in place by government to strengthen the institutional capacity of grassroots organisations to deliver quality service and programmes to alleviate poverty.

Says Nokwazi Mazibuko, NDA Gauteng Provincial Manager, spokesperson, “Apart from the financial support, the NDA has also offered uJima non-financial support which included training on governance to ensure its sustainability. We are indeed proud of what the project has achieved in such a short space of time and can only hope that this will encourage skilled people out there to take their destiny in their own hands just as members of uJima did”.

Whilst answering only a single solution to the vast array of needs of disadvantaged youths, UJima Bakoena Shoe Cooperative takes the first step in protecting the steps of our youth as well as assists the community through job creation.

UJima’s long term vision is to develop into a medium-sized enterprise and diversify its product offering into school uniforms and other apparrel. The Cooperative is a member of the National Industrial Chamber, an affiliate of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) whose benefits include training and advice to emerging small businesses.

For more information, please contact Ms Nokwazi Mazibuko, Gauteng Provincial Manager, on 011 339-6410.

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