PROJECT Never Walk Alone, an initiative of philanthropist Tim Ekandjo, donated its first batch of 1,000 pairs of shoes to beneficiaries in the Hardap region on Friday.

The project was launched by Ekandjo last month to alleviate the plight of disadvantaged children.

The first recipients were school children from Maltahöhe, who received a donation of 658 school shoes. A second batch of 348 pairs of shoes was donated at Kalkrand.

Ekandjo says the project doesn’t just target children in schools, but every Namibian child who doesn’t own a pair of shoes.

“We worked with the education directors from all 14 regions to give us an indication of the needs of different schools,” says Ekandjo.

Preliminary studies in collaboration with local councils showed that 31,755 pairs of shoes are required per region.

The Never Walk Alone project is carried out in collaboration with Shilongo Leather Works, who are producing the 100% leather shoes for the initiative with a 35% discount.

NGOs, corporations and individuals have come on board to support the project, such as the Bank of Namibia, the Momentum Metropolitan Empowerment Fund, the Jerry Muadinohamba Foundation, Redforce Debt Management and the Navachab Gold Mine.

The Ekandjo family themselves will contribute N $ 500,000 to the initiative over the next five years.

When the Hardap was handed over, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund of Namibia (MVA) donated a further N $ 100,000.

MVA communications manager Surihe Gaomas-Guchu said the MVA is honored to be part of such a noble initiative.

“We want to invest in our children, we want to invest in their lives and make a difference,” said Gaomas-Guchu.