Step-up Shoe Drive is a project meant to help alleviate some of the socio-economic hardships experienced by children affected and infected by HIV. The aim is to ensure that these children get the primary basic needs to help keep them in school so that they can get a quality education to better the chances of survival in future. This project was initiated by Dr Sinah Vlug, an FPD Clinical Mentor and Team Leader of the Tshwane North-West Sub-districts roving team.
"The project was initiated in 2012 as a personal fundraising challenge. In February 2012, I challenged myself to donate R25 for wearing a different pair of shoes everyday of the month and posted the proof on my Facebook page. This made me realise how fortunate I was to have so many pairs of shoes while most of my patients (mainly children) did not even have one decent pair to use for important occasions like going to school. So the challenge was to raise enough money to buy a few pairs by winter of that year and to donate to needy children in the hope of making their lives much better, shared Dr Vlug.
Since 2012, interest in the project has grown beyond Facebook. Many people who are supporting the project donate through buying school shoes, stationary, standard school uniform, 2nd hand and new children's clothes as well as money. The money is used for buying stationary and help towards paying school fees and buying groceries for the children in need.
Since the beginning of the project, 56 pairs of school shoes, 5 sets of school uniform and stationary worth R3000.00 have been donated. R1200.00 worth of school fees has been paid for 2 High school pupils in Soshanguve. 2 orphans who are looked after by a pensioned grandmother receive ongoing support in the form of groceries and clothes and many more families have received 2nd hand clothes to help them get by.
The recipients of the donations are mainly affected and infected by HIV and orphans. Some of the recipients are identified through interactions during medical consultations and some are identified during events held at Healthcare facilities. Recently, children living on the streets have been added to the list of recipients, those children are occasionally supplied with old clothes, shoes, toiletries and blankets.
FPD staff members have been generous with donations and well wishes.
Donations that are mostly needed include:
School uniforms and shoes
Conference and school bags in working condition
2nd hand clothes
"I usually encourage people to add things like toothpaste, sanitary pads, wash cloths, soap bars and other toiletries and stationary in the school bags if possible. Anything is welcome as other people can benefit greatly from it. Money is mostly necessary at the beginning of the year where the need for stationary is the greatest," said Dr Vlug.
FPD prides itself on being one of the few private higher educational institutions that fully engages in the three scholarships of higher educational namely - teaching and learning, research, and community engagement. These areas of academic scholarship provide the three focus areas of our work.