Photo Credit: Santa Shoebox - Supplied

Over 1 million young lives have been changed by the Santa Shoebox Project over the last decade; now the project is creating a lasting legacy for its beneficiaries.


Ceres, South Africa (12 October 2021) – Over the years, Santa Shoebox Project has brought so much joy to the lives of underprivileged children throughout South Africa. The gifts received go a long way to benefitting the lives of the selected children. Santa Shoebox Project (SSB) has been proud of reaching one million children in the last year but they started thinking about how to leave a lasting legacy.

The project is currently accepting its shoebox pledges for 2021 and while the team are watching the pledges roll in, they have also been working hard with the SSB Legacy arm building a creche on a farm outside Ceres. This new Legacy project was started to help them reach beyond the one million.

Fairfield is a progressive farm operation in the Ceres district. More than 20 families live and work on the farm. Small children are looked after by Grannies. Older children go to school in town, with limited supervision or help with homework in the afternoons. At a special meeting, all farmworkers voted in favour of an Early Childhood Development and Care Centre on the farm and commitments were signed for their children to attend the crèche and aftercare.

SSB donated Legacy funds towards the project, making sure the funds went to sustainable, long-lasting change. Below is how they funding will create a legacy at the Fairfield crèche.

  • The renovation of an existing building on the farm to establish a crèche (14 children) and aftercare (17 children) , also open to children from neighbouring farms. (See Before and After below)
  • The training of teachers in the Leer en Leef educational programme 
  • The involvement of the farm community in the building and certain design areas of the centre
  • The fostering of a sense of belonging and pride for the adults and children through sport and other activities
  • The provision of personal and skills development to parents via workshops in the creche building
  • The re-establishment of inter-farm activities through sport (netball, cricket, volleyball, tug of war, jukskei, boules), tournaments (dominoes, chess) and healthy socialisation
  • All labour, project management and several other items were sponsored by Fairfield Farm

“This is a beautiful example of what SSB Legacy was intended for – benefiting children, with a ripple effect into their community. Farm workers – and by default their children – have been marginalised for many years. I feel excited for this collaboration, with the inspiring owners, to break that cycle on Fairfield Farm as well as in the greater community. May this be an example for many going forward.” – Irené Pieters, Founder of the Santa Shoebox Project

In addition to the traditional annual Santa Shoebox campaign, which remains the core initiative undertaken by the charity, the Santa Shoebox Legacy fund is making significant differences to the impoverished communities in which beneficiary children live.

This year, the Santa Shoebox Legacy has already sponsored the creation of reading hubs in 25 Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in the Samora Machel community in Cape Town. In addition, funds raised by the initiative have covered anti-bullying training for the facility caregivers, who also received training in the Reggio Emilia approach to preschool and primary education.

In 2020 the Soul City creche in the Loskop district of rural KZN were the recipients of the ground-up build of their safe and beautiful new premises, earning them a Social Development registration, which had long been out of reach due to the lack of basic infrastructure.

The SSB Legacy is made possible thanks to PEP covering most of the Projects’ operating costs, enabling all private donations to be funnelled towards initiatives that address food security, income generation, education, infrastructure support, gender-based violence, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean electricity, as well as climate action.

The Santa Shoebox Project has three initiatives under its umbrella:

1. Traditional Santa Shoebox

Over the last 16 years, 1 017 741 Santa Shoeboxes have been given to underprivileged and socially vulnerable children throughout South Africa and Namibia. Santa Shoebox donors choose their beneficiary child/ren by name, age and gender and are given each child’s clothing size.

Each personalised shoebox reaches the very child for whom it was pledged. Using the Santa Shoebox app (find the Google Play link here and the App Store here), donors are able to track their shoebox from the moment it is pledged to the magical moment it is handed to the child.

Every Santa Shoebox is required to contain eight specified items, chosen with the underprivileged child at heart. These items are a toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth, soap, sweets, school supplies, a toy and an outfit of clothing – all new, unused and age-appropriate. Every shoebox is checked upon drop off to ensure compliance and to protect the safety of the children.

PEP is the perfect store to shop for all the supplies needed for a Santa Shoebox pledge as they are affordable and cater to all age groups.

2. Virtual Santa Shoebox

These shoeboxes are purchased online by donors. The generic Virtual Shoebox is available all year round, while the personalised Virtual Shoebox is made available from Mandela Day onwards each year. These shoeboxes meet the needs of donors who live too far from drop-off points and are delivered to children living in far-flung rural areas. Components are chosen by the donor on the Santa Shoebox website and the shoeboxes are packed by the Santa Shoebox Team. A Virtual Santa Shoebox contains the eight specified items, as well as additional items, such as a lunchbox and books. A Virtual Santa Shoebox costs R450 plus an optional delivery fee of R30.

3. Santa Shoebox Legacy

All operating costs of the Santa Shoebox Project are covered by its main corporate sponsors. As part of the Project’s March to A Million drive, all privately donated funds over the past four years have been accruing under the Santa Shoebox Legacy fund.

In 2020 a portion of these funds were allocated to COVID relief projects, enabling the project to support a number of other NPOs in reaching their UN Sustainable Development Goals such as hunger relief, food security, tackling gender-based violence, clean energy, and clean water and sanitation.

For links to get involved, scan this QR code or visit the Santa Shoebox Project website: www.santashoebox.org.za/about-us/

Sources: Santa Shoebox – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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