Swastika Juggernath. Picture: Supplied

The spirit of giving runs strong in our nation’s veins.

A recent feel-good story of a Northern Cape teacher who bought her class 40 pairs of shoes as doing her part for 67 Minutes for Mandela is testament that Ubuntu is an innate part of our culture.

“When I bought the 40 pairs of shoes from Bata, they gave me an additional 10 pairs, which I could hand out to other needy children,” Masechaba Josephine Mosiane told Independent Media.

And now school footwear brand Toughees, owned by Bata SA, is doing its bit also in the spirit of Ubuntu.

Bata is calling on the SA public to identify 67 schools around the country who are in desperate need of school shoes. The public can recommend their school via the Toughees Facebook Page using the hashtag #Bata67Steps.

The woman behind the project is Swastika Juggernath, and with their goal being to assist 4489 pupils from around the country, she has her work cut out for her.

“One of my core functions is to oversee the Bata Children’s Programme South Africa. We have identified four key areas of development for children where we can make a difference: education, health and safety, living in a sustainable world and mentoring skills,” says Juggernath.

This year they chose to champion one of the causes that was close to Mandela’s heart - children and education. “The campaign that we are embarking on is more than just putting shoes on feet,” said Khutjo Madisha, Toughees brand manager. “It’s about giving children their pride back and giving them confidence to achieve their dreams.”

Punting the campaign on social media should reach a wider audience, but Juggernath does admit that it’s still early days: “Once we have received all the nominations, we will be in a better position to comment on the impact this campaign has had.”

In the meantime, you can nominate your school via the Toughees Facebook Page using the hashtag #Bata67Steps.

* Visit www.bata.co.za for more info

Swastika Juggernath shares her tips on how to prolong your child's school shoes:

Buy quality: 

Quality shoes last longer but in order to achieve long-term wear from your shoes, purchase a durable, easy to care for pair that encourages strong development. Some school shoe ranges come in a non-polish leather which simply require wiping with a damp cloth.

Buy at the end of the day: 

While most parents are tempted to hit the shops early and get the shopping over and done with, it is best to go shopping during the late afternoon as children's feet often swell by the end of the day. This way, they will get their school shoes fitted when their feet are the biggest.

Fitting: 

A pair of shoes that does not fit a child properly can be harmful to their feet because they are still growing. A new shoe should have about a finger's width longer than the longest toe, this allows for space for the foot to grow. Also, natural materials like leather are breathable.

Protection: 

As soon as you take the shoes out the box, spray them with a general spray for leather which protects the shoes against stains and splashes.

Loosen the laces: 

Ensure that your child undoes the laces when removing them, this reduces excessive wear and tear.

Maintenance is key: 

The secret to keeping shoes looking better for longer is year-round maintenance. Invest in basic renovators, polishes, brushes and sprays.