WASHINGTON DC —
A Zimbabwean based in North Carolina, USA, says he is in the process of collecting shoes for poor children in Zimbabwe following a successful public campaign in which 76,000 new shoes were shipped to the country for beneficiaries in all provinces.
Noah Manyika of Nexus Global Serve running a ‘Shoes for Healing Campaign’ says he started the project in order to cater for the needs of poor children while creating political dialogue in Zimbabwe ravaged by social, economic and political problems.
Manyika, who started collecting shoes soon after the setting up of the unity government in Zimbabwe and will soon go back home with an assortment of shoes, told VOA Studio 7 there is a lot that Zimbabweans living in the diaspora can do for their country even if they have divergent political views.
“I have with some of my friends mobilized more than 50,000 pairs of shoes to give to kids in different schools,” he said noting that his organization is getting support from the government.
"I have gone knocking in all kinds of doors in ministries saying, look, we are helping local communities so let us do that and sometimes you have to fight for that.”
He said his organization worked with the government of national unity soon after it was set up to help children who normally went to school without shoes.
Manyika said the Shoes for Healing program became popular in the country as all political parties in the coalition government supported it.
“It was really interesting because we were hosted by everybody when we would bring these shoes into the country and we would go to a poor school and donate these shoes … And use that to help the kids but also use that as the beginning of a conversation for national healing.
“ … Even after the GNU we did that. In fact, last year we sent 26,000 pairs of shoes that we have just finished distributing in different schools. We found a lot of receptivity to that.”
Some of the shoes donated by well-wishers in USA for poor Zimbabwean children. (Photo: Noah Manyika)
He further said they are currently planning to send a container of shoes to Zimbabwe.
“We are looking for more shoes. In fact, my plan is to go to Zimbabwe in March and between now and then we want to put a container and we haven’t actually only distributed shoes at one time we put in our container material to build classrooms in a school for displaced kids in Hatcliffe.”
His organization works with various individuals and organization like Samaritans Feet.