The Non-Governmental Youth group, Come Alive Network continues with a massive drive to ensure many of Guyana’s underprivileged children are able to have a comfortable walk to school when the new school year begins on Monday.
What started out as a small initiative to help children in underserved communities to “walk in their own shoes” to school, has blossomed into a national effort that has picked up support from several companies and organisations and has gained momentum.
Back in July, the youth group launched its shoe drive by asking its Facebook fans and volunteers and supporters to donate a pair of new shoes to assist some of Guyana’s children. The response was heartening as various groups and even private citizens donated money and new footwear to the cause.
One company, the Phimopra Software Company of Costa Rica, bought and donated 200 pairs of new shoes when it learnt of the project on Facebook. One of the partners of the company is Guyanese and thought the shoe drive was the perfect way of giving back to Guyana’s children.
A number of local companies, including Shoe Source, Singer’s, California Stucco Guyana, Footsteps and the Staff Association of the Pegasus Hotel chipped in with sizeable donations of their own.
The Executive Director of the Come Alive Network, Ryan Hoppie told News Source that his group has been able to fit over 300 children with new shoes for the new school year, thanks to the donations and support from companies and sponsors.
He explained that the “Help them walk in their own shoes” drive has taken the group across Guyana.
Children from Essequibo, Enmore and Albouystown have all benefited from the initiative. Volunteers from the youth group have travelled to those communities and have assisted in fitting children with the right footwear.
On Saturday, the group will travel to the mining town of Linden to ensure children in that underserved community are also able to have a better walk to school on Monday.
Mr. Hoppie noted that the drive has opened his youth group’s eyes on the many challenges facing families across Guyana and the great need for assistance. He said he was touched by the outpouring of gratitude from those who have benefited from the drive including scores of parents.
According to Hoppie, one of the most moving scenes occurred in Essequibo when the group ran out of female shoes and the parents of young girls came forward requesting the male shoes for their daughters, explaining that it did not matter to them whether the shoes were for girls or boys, they just wanted the right fit.
He said stories like that is what gives his group the inspiration to continue with the back to school drive. Hoppie noted that he would have liked to start the drive much earlier to ensure more donations but he explained that persons and companies are still welcomed to make donations throughout the school year.
The Come Alive Network was founded in April, 2012 and ever since then it has been involved in a number of community initiatives and projects aimed at bettering the lives of Guyanese children and youths. The group currently has over 50 members and will launch a national volunteer group soon. The group could be contacted on Telephone number 592-639-6690 or via email [email protected]
Filed: 30th August, 2014