Chinese ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong with President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS
Chinese ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong with President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Chinese Ambassador donates shoes in drive to empower SA learners

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Mar 7, 2021

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PRETORIA – The Chinese embassy in South Africa had donated 2 000 pairs of school shoes in a programme to support economically disadvantaged pupils, according to ambassador Chen Xiaodong.

In a written message sent for the one million school shoes campaign’s latest donation drive in Orange Farm in Johannesburg this weekend, Chen said that though he could not attend the event, his embassy would continue to support the campaign.

“Although we cannot meet in person for now, our hearts are always together. When I first arrived in South Africa in September last year, I heard that due to the financial straits caused by the [Covid-19] pandemic, many students’ families even had difficulties in buying school shoes.

“So I immediately expressed my hope to make more contributions to the one million school shoes project. So far, we have donated 2 000 pairs of school shoes. Although the number is not big, it embodies the Chinese embassy’s support for local communities’ education,” Chen said.

“The biggest challenge facing South Africa today is the exacerbated poverty caused by the pandemic. As former president [Nelson] Mandela said, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world, and the development of education is the main path to get rid of poverty,” he said.

In a statement on Saturday, the one million school shoes campaign said it distributed 500 pairs of new school shoes to needy children in Orange Farm. The beneficiary pupils were selected from 12 schools in the area.

The handover was made possible through a generous donation by the Chinese embassy in South Africa, it said.

The handover ceremony was held in accordance with Covid-19 protocols on gatherings and attended by selected pupil representatives, school principals, and Johannesburg city councillors.

"We are delighted to have been able to make this humble contribution to the needy learners. As the campaign, we have since inception collected and donated over 150 000 pairs which were donated by individuals, companies, and foreign representatives in South Africa,” said campaign secretary Brian Dube.

“We are committed to make a total donation of one million [pairs of school shoes] in our lifetime. Our commitment is to see learners succeed in their education and improving their lives for the better,” he said.

- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet

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