School shoe fundraiser for children killed in Gaza

A youngster displays her butterfly design at the Butterfly Soul workshop at People’s Park at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. | Supplied

A youngster displays her butterfly design at the Butterfly Soul workshop at People’s Park at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. | Supplied

Published Feb 12, 2024


Durban — Ten thousand schoolchildren in South Africa are to receive a new pair of school shoes in remembrance of the children killed in Gaza.

Healthcare Workers 4 Palestine and the Gift of the Givers are running a school shoe drive to raise R1.5 million to purchase 10 000 pairs of shoes for South African children in need.

Almost R1m has been raised so far, namely through campaigns via social media and crowdfunding.

As part of the drive, thousands of school shoes were displayed at vigils, entitled Soles of our Souls, across the country in remembrance of the more than 10000 children killed in Palestine. One was held on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Youth Centre in Chatsworth.

The ongoing Israel-Hamas war has left thousands of people dead, displaced and injured during conflict in the Middle Eastern territory.

Young people designing their butterfly as part of the Butterfly Souls workshop. | Supplied

Healthcare Workers 4 Palestine has been hosting vigils for those killed in Palestine by Israeli attacks, including healthcare workers and journalists.

Nazreena Hassim, a committee member for Healthcare Workers 4 Palestine and a medical volunteer of Gift of the Givers, said: “We pay tribute to their precious lives, symbolically and practically, through giving shoes to needy schoolchildren in South Africa. This gives dignity to these children when they go to school, contributing to a ripple of positive change in our communities. We also remember the children who remain in Palestine, many of whom are injured or orphaned and traumatised, and who lack access to water, food, shelter, healthcare and education. We want for Palestine’s children the same that we wish for our own children.”

She said the awareness around the campaign was not just about raising money to purchase school shoes, but about the number of children who have been killed in Gaza.

Hassim said Gift of the Givers would use the money raised to purchase the school shoes and distribute them.

Donations can be made via BackaBuddy at

A butterfly being decorated during the Butterfly Soul workshop. | Supplied

Nadia Meer, an activist with People Against Oppression, said more advocacy work should be done to educate more people in South Africa, especially the youth.

Meer said that last week a young Christian activist, Itani Rasalanavho, reached Durban after starting a walk from Soweto in Johannesburg. He stopped along the way to talk to people about Gaza.

Meer said: “Consider how to approach children over this issue, because many people including Palestinians have young children here and don’t know how to discuss the issue and make them understand. My attempt with exploring ideas around that was the idea of Butterfly Soul which is to honour each of the children that have been killed by using a symbolic butterfly.

“And using our concept of ubuntu which connects us in a human way to others, we ran a few workshops. At last Sunday’s event at People's Park at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, where we welcomed the young activist, there were more workshops on butterfly making and each butterfly that’s created is dedicated to a child that has been killed. We hope to collate and have an exhibition of some of the butterflies which will be sold or auctioned to raise funds for amputee children. Over 10 children per day are losing one or both their limbs since this started.”

Sunday Tribune