School Shoes
Photo Credit: Tsoseletso Foundation

Ezekiel Motlana was moved to make a difference in 2012, so he started collecting school shoes for children in need; now, a decade on, his passion project is still going strong.

 

Pretoria, South Africa (30 January 2023) – While heading off to work each day, Ezekiel Motlana would see children from his Mamelodi community walking to school, many without school shoes. One particularly chilly winter’s day, he saw a child walking barefoot, and he was moved to do something about it.

Ezekiel shared that the sight of bare feet in the middle of winter didn’t sit well with him, more so on a child walking to seek an education. In 2012, he started doing some research and was able to connect with a school, Meetse A Bophelo, in Mamelodi East. He rallied friends, family, work colleagues and the community, and collected 100 pairs of genuine leather school shoes.

The project was a success, and so began the Tsoseletso Foundation. The foundation selects a school each year and identifies children in need. On average, they connect with 100 children every year.

Over the years, Ezekiel has continued his efforts and, in total, has collected around 1000 pairs of shoes for children in need. He has visited schools throughout Gauteng to hand out shoes, but his dream for the organisation is to reach more rural communities, where poverty is at its worst.

Photo Credit: Tsoseletso Foundation

“My dream is for us to be able to reach more communities throughout South Africa, especially in the rural areas where there is even more of a need for this type of initiative.

We once did an outreach in a place called Swartdam, Moeka for a school called Relebogile Primary School. The situation was far worse than what I have seen in most townships that we have visited.”

What makes this so special, is that Ezekiel runs the foundation during his spare time. He works full-time as a developer in the IT department at MiWay. He has inspired his colleagues to join in each year which has been a great help in reaching the foundation’s targets.

MiWay makes a concerted effort to employ people with heart – who care and who go the extra mile. While this initiative is Ezekiel’s personal passion project, he has been able to connect with like-hearted people at work.

“My colleagues at MiWay have been generous in donating shoes and making sure we have successful outreaches.

I must say this is not an easy thing to do, but their support gives me the strength to continue to do this.”

The help he has had over the years has been incredible, but one person has stood out year after year.

“I would like to give a special shout-out to a young man called Jackson Ngobeni who has been a pillar of strength since this initiative started.

Every year, once we identify the school that we want to work with, he goes out to the school, moving from class to class to identify the potential beneficiaries.

We pride ourselves in making sure that every single pair of shoes donated goes to the relevant and needy kid. The only sad part is when we are not able to raise enough shoes to cover everyone on the beneficiary list.

It always pains me to walk away from the school after doing a shoe drive knowing that there are still kids that do not have shoes.”

The foundation welcomes a helping hand: Ezekiel is looking for volunteers who can aid with digital content for the social media platforms, and an accountant to help with tax compliance, fundraising initiatives, and of course, shoe donors.

If you would like to help towards shoes for children in need, you can email Ezekiel here or reach out via the Facebook page here.

School Shoes
Photo Credit: Tsoseletso Foundation

Sources: Tsoseletso Foundation
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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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