Cape Town - In remembrance of more than 10 000 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since October 7, thousands of pairs of school shoes for needy children in South Africa were collected and displayed at the Sea Point Promenade at the weekend.
The Soles of our Souls vigil was among a series held in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Gqeberha by Healthcare Workers 4 Palestine SA (HCW4P SA) and the Gift of the Givers Foundation.
Nazreena Hassim, committee member of HCW4P SA and a medical volunteer for Gift of the Givers, said: “We pay tribute to their previous lives, symbolically and practically, through giving shoes to the needy school children in South Africa. This gives dignity to these school children when they go to school, contributing to a ripple of positive change in our communities.
“We also remember the children who remain in Palestine, many of whom are injured or orphaned and traumatised and who lack access to water, food, shelter, healthcare and education. We want for Palestine’s children the same that we wish for our children.”
Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay said their teams were already packing the school shoes in boxes and getting them ready to be delivered to various parts of South Africa.
“Through working in various rural and underprivileged communities around South Africa, we receive at the beginning of every year a request from school principals for school shoes for children in those areas.
“In some of these areas, a child will not even have a pair of school shoes throughout their schooling career and what is sad in our engagements is that the learners at times don’t even know their shoe size because they never owned a pair of shoes, so this initiative will benefit more than 11 000 children in the poorest parts of the country.
“With this programme, we want the people of Palestine to know that they are not forgotten, especially the children who are suffering the most. The highest number of casualties is children but we are so proud that during our school visits, our South African schools are praying and remembering Gaza.”