Cyprus Mail

The shoes that grow for the children who need them

Giorgos Tsikkos and Socrates Rossides at the school in Tanzania
Two Cypriot friends are personally delivering 60 pairs of rather special shoes to a Tanzanian school

Thirty-two-year-old Giorgos Tsikkos and 30-year-old Socrates Rossides arrived in the Tanzanian village of Makiwueni on July 14, bringing with them 100 pairs of shoes. The primary goal was to supply all 60 students of the Idimayi Maasai preschool with the shoes they had bought with donated money.

But these are not just any kind of shoes. They are ‘shoes that grow’, that is they are able to increase in size. The shoes are available in two sizes, 32-37 and 37-42. They are made of strong materials like leather and rubber and don’t have parts that break easily and are expected to last at least five years.

feature shoes - the 'shoes that grow'

On July 18, the 60 pairs of shoes were delivered to the school and the team is now moving on. “We will deliver any additional pairs to underprivileged children we will meet along our motorcycle ride through Tanzania,” organiser Tsikkos said.

After two months of collections by Thursday Tsikkos and Rossides had far collected $2,985 (€2,707) from 50 people, 199 per cent of their original goal of $1,500. As each pair of shoes costs roughly $20, they are now able to distribute more than 140 pairs. The fundraising continues until their return to Cyprus on August 13.

They decided on their endeavour after initially volunteering in Nepal in 2013.

“We left the comfort of our homes in a venture to Nepal taking part in a humanitarian mission to educate underprivileged Nepalese children in monasteries near the Himalayan region. This experience unlocked a sense of purpose and made us realise that the call to ‘give back’ did not come about consciously but rather instinctually from an inherent spiritual drive,” they explained on Facebook.

This time, the two enthusiasts decided to join a volunteer teaching project and to raise funds for the children of the school. The Idimayi Maasai primary school for children aged three to seven was founded in 2012 to battle the high level of illiteracy in the region.

Those who want to support the initiative can make a donation via fundraising platform Generosity at–2.

To follow the project’s progress see Shoe That Grows: Tanzania Masai School Initiative on Facebook.


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