From the combined efforts of The CounterBalance Trust, The Bobs for Good Foundation and The Freedom Challenge, delivery of 290 new and 500 used shoes to people along the Freedom Challenge trail is finally happening.  

Nicky McLoed of Environmental & Rural Solutions cc (ERS) has been handling the logistics for the delivery with her team.  She sent us this e-mail today…

The Freedom Challenge, together with support from the CounterBalance unicyclists, the Bobs for Good Foundation, Mehloding Trust and ERS, are pleased to announce that 200 pairs of new school shoes will be handed over to scholars at Naledi JSS near Matatiele, on Friday 22nd July.  You are invited to join us for this informal event, which will focus on getting the shoes to the targetted children, and measuring another 90 children for new shoes.

The funds for this generous donation were raised by the CounterBalance Team, which rode the Freedom Challenge trail as part of a fund raising effort in early 2011.  200 Needy children were selected by the school, and measurements taken with assistance from Mehloding Trust and ERS.  the shoes were manufactured and supplied through the Bobs for Good Foundation, and were made in SA. 

This is part of a wider support process for schools along the Maloti section of the Freedom Challenge trail route, which runs from Pietermaritzburg to the Cape.  A database of over 30 primary / JSS schools is being developed to assist with chanelling support to schools along this section of the trail - this provides a link between support opportunities and needy recipients.  Any ideas and all contributions are welcome!

Other schools and students in the area are receiving support through the Freedom Challenge scholarship fund, which currently supports 5 students attending Mariazell Mission for grades 10-12.  A donation of 500 pairs of second hand shoes is being distributed simultaneously to three schools in the Kuebung area.  ERS and Mehloding staff provide informal outreach support for schools regarding environmental and tourism awareness linked with the curriculum.

This initiative is made possible by support from Freedom Challenge riders' donations, together with the Matatiele and Alfred Nzo Municipalities, who provide contributions towards the operational costs of the Mehloding Trust and Freedom Challenge.

The handover will be informal (no big speeches or meals) and will probably take about 3 hours to ensure everyone gets their shoes and the next 90 pairs are correctly measured and ordered.

If anybody would like to contribute to any of the above initiatives please contact the following organisations:  Enviromental and Rurual Solutions cc, The Freedom Challenge and Bobs for Good Foundation.