“There is a story about a young boy who invited God to walk with him when he felt his feet could not carry him anymore. At the end of their journey when he looked back the young boy noticed that there were times along the path where there was only one set of footprints. This really troubled him so he asked God if he abandoned him along the way and God responded, ‘My precious child, I love you and will never leave you during your trials and tribulations. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you’,” this was shared by a grateful Maureen Dikole, a student at Camp Primary School.
The student gave closing remarks on behalf of a delegation from various primary schools across Botswana. The fourteen schools were beneficiaries of the FNBB Foundation’s Winter Shoe Drive. She said it was through initiatives like FNBB’s that God carries them during difficult times.
Through the foundation, FNBB donated over 3,500 pairs of school shoes to fourteen primary schools: Xaixai; Xere; Lepokole; Khekhenye; Sekhutlane; Bere; Matlhako; Moineedi; Ntshe; Mpiti; Jackalas 1; Ipeleng; Ralekgetho; and Camp Primary school.
The handover event, held at First Place house (CBD), commenced with a barefooted walk from the Dikgosi monument to First Place. The walk, by FNB staff and other participants, was led by Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso. “I would like to believe that I am not the only one exhausted from the walk we just took from the Dikgosi Monument to here,”Tshireletso said. “Imagine a walk ten times that long, barefoot and in the dead of winter.” She said Primary school pupils especially those in the lower grades struggle to get to school in winter because they do not have shoes.
For those that do have shoes, Tshireletso said, the shoes are either worn out or not the right size. “This gesture will help tens of hundreds of children who might not otherwise have the protection afforded by shoes against infection and injury as they go through the winter season,” the assistant minister said, adding, “In addition to the health benefits, wearing a decent pair of new shoes can also provide children with a measure of self-esteem and confidence that may have been previously lacking.” She said the challenge that the FNBB Foundation is addressing is just one of the many her ministry is faced with on a daily basis. “We deal with among others, poor housing, poor access to water, poor access to education, and health issues.”
She advised attendants that it may not be their child who suffers through the winter walking barefooted to school but it is everyone’s social responsibility to make sure it happens to no child. “Re le Batswana rea itse gore Setswana sare ‘Ngwana ke wa Motse’, essentially meaning that we all have equal responsibility in the care and nurturing of our children regardless.” FNBB Foundation Trustee Myra Sekgororoane said they were aware that not everyone can afford a pair of school shoes to beat the harsh winter conditions. She said with a pair of shoes the cold will not contribute to children not attending school. Sekgororoane said the foundation had invested more than 25 million Pula in CSR projects since 2001.