School shoes for the needy

STEPPING UP … The annual 4×4 initiative to collect school shoes for needy schoolchildren was launched at Swakopmund on Wednes- day. In attendance were Erongo governor Neville Andre (centre), Swakopmund mayor Dina Namubes and Sidney Boois, founder of the initiative.

The annual 4×4 Initiative providing school shoes to needy schoolchildren was launched at Swakopmund on Wednesday.

The project is spearheaded by founder Sidney Boois (who is also the Roads Authority executive officer of transportation) and his son Etienne Boois and this year they will focus on providing shoes to school boys.

Boois addressed the harsh reality that many pupils will be walking to school barefoot in 2024 due to poverty, unemployment and in some cases, neglect of responsibility on the part of fathers.

“In the year of high expectation 2024, the ubuntu spirit among men and boys and the Namibian nation at large would be a key ingredient by joining hands in the Namibian house, in order to meet these expectations and realise our Namibian dreams,” he said.

The initiative started on 1 January with the purchase of five pairs of shoes by the Booises, triggering the 4×4 chapter in at least eight towns, including Swakopmund, Usakos, Karibib, Okahandja, Windhoek, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb and Ongwediva.

This year, 200 pairs of school shoes have already been donated to the cause, with about 500 shoes collected per year over the last three years.

“We hit the ground running and are making positive headlines as men and boys, an impression which should last for the remainder of the year,” said Boois.

The 4×4 Initiative advocates for responsible practices among men and boys, encouraging good choices and supporting the mantra, “a brother is not a burden” and at the same time, it supports one child’s hope and the Namibian dream.

The initiative also aims to change the narrative that men are heartless, through more practical positive actions. Boois believes that bad habits can be replaced with good ones and plans to use positive characters to build the ‘Namibian house’ and advance the notion of healthy masculinity.

“We believe that change starts with one man, not a committee or group,” said Boois, who called on men and boys to be the champions of the 4×4 initiative in their towns, villages, cities and workplaces.

Swakopmund mayor Dina Namubes expressed her support for the initiative.

She said she is “totally in favour” of any project that helps the community as a whole.

“Whether it’s bread or just a visit to the community, I appreciate any kind of assistance. As human beings, we also face challenges and have gone through hardship, but we have to heal from that,” she said.

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