School’s ‘shoe appeal’ helps children in Ghana

The King’s School Macclesfield put its best foot forward to send more than 300 pairs of shoes to primary schools in Ghana.

Since 2015, King’s youngest pupils have donated their old school shoes at the end of the academic year so their counterparts in Ghana can walk, what is often many miles to and from school, in comfort.

Worldwide, there are 300 million children for whom walking with shoes is a rarity, making them extremely vulnerable to infection, parasites and injuries to the feet and ankles.

Working with the charity Connecting Kids Education Foundation (CKEF), that supports schools in rural Ghana and organises shipping and distribution, King’s pupils can then follow the progress of their Ghanaian friends with regular photos and updates.

The King’s School has also sent school furniture, sports kit, a projector and books to set up a library.

Caroline Johnson is pictured with junior pupils and their shoes. Caroline Johnson is pictured with junior pupils and their shoes.

Director of external relations, Caroline Johnson, who organises the scheme, said: “We are told the project has had a profound impact on absenteeism, literacy rates and even teenage pregnancy, as it enables children to see a brighter future and have higher aspirations.

It also gives our pupils a deeper appreciation of just how privileged they are to have access not only to an excellent education, but also what we think of as basics such as footwear, desks and books.”

CKEF was set up by local philanthropist Ellen Blamires, who also comes into King’s to speak to pupils about her charity work and to offer older students potential gap year opportunities working in central and southern Ghana.

Former pupil, Harry Hayward, visited the CKEF projects in Ghana during his gap year, helping to build teaching blocks for schools, set-up the library and to see what else the school could do to help.

Caroline added: “The shoe collection is now an important part of our end of year celebrations. As a mum of three, I know how quickly children grow out of their shoes and we are sending high quality school shoes which our pupils have grown out of and would otherwise just be thrown away. It’s a case of waste not want not, which is another vital lesson.”

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