The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Hands of Compassion (HoC) team embarked on the Adopt-A-Child for the School Shoes Donation Drive. The Adopt-a-Child for School Shoes Donation Drive was initiated this year (2023).

This initiative was initiated by the DUT HoC team, which is a team composed of staff members from the DUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Research Innovation and Engagement (RIE) office, Libraries, and the Marketing, Public Relations and Events unit. Currently, the HoC team as a collective does not have an office, but for the donation drive, drop-off points can be found at the various DUT libraries from the 13th to the 28th of February 2023.
The idea of the adopt-a-child for school shoes came as a direct response to the dire need for resources by learners, such as uniforms, in under-resourced communities, particularly in rural schools. The DUT HoC team discussed how the DUT community can assist these learners, and the idea for the call for donations was developed and shared with the DUT Community.

Ms Phumzile Xulu, DUT’s Engagement Practitioner explained the motivation behind the drive. “DUT staff members often visit rural schools for various engagements, and we are made aware of the various resources that rural schools are in need of. Although we can’t tackle all of the issues at once, we decided that trying to restore the dignity of the learners and giving them access to school shoes was a start. As an engaged university, we have the responsibility to be active citizens that respond to the needs of society. Using one of our values, compassion, as a guide, we thought it was a good idea to involve the DUT community in the call to allow each one to contribute to changing the lives and the livelihoods of these young people,” she said.

In addition, the initiative is targeting rural primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces as they are often under-resourced and often receive very little support due to their remoteness.

According to Xulu, learners from rural schools often have to walk long distances without shoes. Those with the shoes, you often find that they are inadequate.

“The main goal for this initiative is that its effort can at least offer a small improvement to the lives of these learners. With any drive, such as this one, the biggest challenge will always be on gathering a sufficient amount of donations as the need is so great. The team is trying, by all means, to assist as many learners as they can with the resources that they have now,” she stressed.

The team hopes that this donation drive will be an ongoing effort that the DUT community can support. In future, they also hope to include other universal uniforms and stationery items.

“We have been receiving good support from the DUT community. We have around 80 donors so far, many of whom have expressed the desire to donate more than one pair of shoes. We appreciate their efforts and sacrifices as we understand that this is not an easy time of the year financially for most people. At first, we had planned to close the link to register for the drive on 17 February 2023. However, we had so many requests to extend the call so that more people can be made aware, and we have now extended registration to today, 28 February 2023,” said Xulu.

She added that for this donation drive, there are no sponsors, just individual donors. The donation drive has been organised and coordinated by the DUT Hands of Compassion Team.

If anyone would like to donate, kindly click on the link below, the link will redirect them to a Microsoft Form link to fill in their details. Once the form is submitted, a member of the DUT HoC team will reach out to that specific individual via email with the details of their beneficiary and their school size. Once an individual has bought the shoes, a person can drop them off at any of the DUT libraries. If anyone needs more information, they can contact any of the HoC members:
· Tracy Khuzwayo: tracyk@dut.ac.za
· Vasantha Govender: govenderv@dut.ac.za
· Sarah Khan: khans@dut.ac.za

LINK: https://forms.office.com/r/n3h0DgN0XJ

Pictured: Samkelisiwe Dlamini: Library Assistant: Circulation, donating a pair of shoes.

Nomvelo Zulu

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