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Sole2Sole donates over 200 000 pairs of shoes

After founding the Sole2Sole shoe drive project in 2017, the drive has managed to wore over 200 000 individuals within Gauteng and its founders were the youngest individuals to win in the 30 young Mandela of the future awards earlier this year.

After founding the Sole2Sole shoe drive project in 2017, the drive has managed to benefit over 200 000 individuals within Gauteng.

Its founders were the youngest individuals to win the 30 Young Mandela of the Future Awards earlier this year.

Five years after initiating the shoe drive, two siblings from Meyersdal have collected over 200 000 pairs of shoes to help the less fortunate.

Dario Gouveia (14) founded the Sole2Sole in 2017 when he was only nine years old with the help of his sister, Liana (13) and his family.

The young award winners Dario and Liana Gouveia.

Dario and Liana were the youngest individuals to win the awards early this year for the positive change they bring across the province and they were the youngest in this category.

According to the game changer, Dario, he started the drive after seeing a homeless boy without shoes on one of Alberton’s streets and was emotionally touched.

“I must acknowledge the assistance of others. My school, Marist Brothers Linmeyer, was one of our first drop-off points, I have a shoe container in the library, and my school friends have been great aid towards this drive,” Dario said.

Sole2Sole benefits lots of entities including orphanages, churches, hospitals, soup kitchens, shelters, and underprivileged schools.

The project has shifted its focus from being a locally based project to being a provincial initiative.

“Sole2Sole is not about a boy and a girl who founded the project, however, is about every single volunteer and donor that has entrusted the project with their shoes,” Dario said.

Some of the Sole2Sole heart-warming moments

At one of the nearby schools, Dario and Liana gave a student in Grade 11 a set of rugby boots. The learner was a big boy with a strong physique, and it was obvious that he excelled in rugby at his school.

The siblings were touched when they saw the gentle giant receive these boots with tears in his eyes, and his words will live with them forever.

According to Dario, the rugby player said that they do not comprehend how much the pair of rugby boots meant to him. Some learners at his school do not know that he lives in an orphanage, and he frequently gives them reasons why he does not have rugby boots despite the fact that rugby is his passion. Now, he has the chance to pursue his passion because of these rugby boots.

How do they organise and distribute these shoes?

To sort or organise these shoes, Sole2Sole partnered with schools around the Gauteng province. Many high schools have a community hours project that encourages students to volunteer their time for the benefit of people in need.

They have developed a Facebook page and WhatsApp group, where many of the families who follow them can know when they need volunteers to help with arranging and donating the shoes.

They hold volunteer days where thousands of pairs of shoes are sorted, packaged, and made ready to be given to various organisations.

“Shoes go through a quality control check. We will only pass on a pair of shoes that are in good condition. Dignity is the most important aspect of Sole2Sole,” Liana explained.

As the project grew its feet in the area, a little eight-year-old boy asked Dario’s mom what is a pair of shoes without socks and the young man started a socks drive which accompanied the Sole2Sole project.

Dario and Liana’s other interests

Sport is Dario’s life. Currently, he does outdoor obstacle fitness with a club called Ground Zero, plays squash, and recently earned his junior black belt in karate. He also plays the drums.

Dario hopes to further his studies in the programming and engineering field.

Liana is a passionate music lover. She plays the piano and spends most of her time writing songs and practising. She holds a second brown belt in karate.

Readers who want to donate

Readers can remove all their lightly used shoes from their cupboards, bind them with elastic, and deliver them to one of their Gauteng drop-off locations. They are in need of men’s shoes.

For more information, visit their Facebook page @Sole2Sole or call Zita Gouveia on 079 501 9517.

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