Shoes collected by Sligoman help impoverished children in South Africa

Two-and-a-half thousand pairs of shoes collected as a result of an appeal by a Sligoman are now making life at least a little better for impoverished children in South Africa.

Sligo-based landscape photographer Ciaran McHugh saw the need for the shoes when he visited Cape Town last year.

There, he noticed the number of children, many of them in gang-ridden areas and with a keen interest in soccer, playing barefoot on rough gravel.

At the same time, he thought of the many not-fully-used pairs of sports shoes and runnners often thrown out at home in Ireland, all of which led him to launching the ‘In My Shoes’ appeal.

As a result, children and parents from 40 schools donated more than 2,500 pairs of football boots and sports shoes.

The cost of transporting the shoes the more than 14,000km journey to South Africa was covered by Mr McHugh’s employer, White Calling.

Distribution was handled by volunteers from the soccer teams attached to Wynberg Boys High School, one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in South Africa, in conjunction with the Gary Kirsten Foundation, which promotes sports.

Roland Rudd, vice-principal of Wynberg Boys High School, had this message of thanks, as well as outlining how they are helping children there, including by giving them the shoes collected in Ireland.