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Chinese Ambassador Chen Donated School Shoes to Schools in Local Impoverished Communities in South Africa

On March 6 and 27, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Chen Xiaodong donated 500 pairs of school shoes to two schools in impoverished communities of Johannesburg, Gauteng, and Driefontein, Mpumalanga, respectively, through the local non-governmental organization “One Million School Shoes”. The Secretary of “One Million School Shoes”, Mr. Dube, representatives of the governments, teachers, students, and parents of the two places attended the donation ceremony. Ambassador Chen was invited to send a written message.

Ambassador Chen thanked “One Million School Shoes” for facilitating the successful holding of the donation event as scheduled by overcoming the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that after assuming his new post in September last year, he learned that many students couldn’t even afford school shoes due to the pandemic, and in response, the Chinese Embassy in South Africa immediately expressed its willingness to step up its donation efforts to the organization. As of now, the Embassy has donated 2,000 pairs of school shoes, which, though in a small number, is a concrete manifestation of the Embassy’s support for local community education with practical actions.

As Ambassador Chen said, the merciless pandemic brings out the warmth of humanity. The people of China and South Africa have always stood by each other and shared weal and woe. The biggest challenge for South Africa today is the increasing poverty caused by the pandemic. As former South African President Nelson Mandela said, education is the most powerful weapon to change the world, and developing education is the main pathway out of poverty.“We should prioritize improving the education level of the impoverished population in poverty alleviation,” Chinese President Xi Jinping recently also emphasized that education is the fundamental strategy to shake off poverty and achieve prosperity when summarizing the experience of China’s overall success against poverty. Education and human resources development have always been the priority of cooperation between China and South Africa. We are ready to expand the cooperation, provide more South African students with government scholarships to study in China, and welcome more aspiring young people, including students from the two beneficiary schools, to study in China in the future. The Embassy will continue to support the “One Million School Shoes” campaign so that more children from economically disadvantaged families can wear new shoes to enjoy a beautiful life and embrace a wonderful future with sincere blessings from Chinese people.

Mr. Dube thanked Ambassador Chen for his care for the students in impoverished areas and appreciated the kindness of the Chinese Embassy. He said that China’s donation has greater significance than ever under the impact of the pandemic. It brings dignity and hope to the children through concrete actions and helps the local impoverished communities embrace the future. It is hoped that the Embassy will continue to support the “One Million School Shoes” campaign and pay attention to the development of local communities in poverty. Officials of the two governments said that China’s success in poverty alleviation has brought much inspiration to Africa,hoping China will give more support to South Africa in infrastructure construction and tourism development. The students also expressed their appreciationfor the best back-to-school gift and hoped to have the opportunity to thank Ambassador Chen and the Chinese Embassy in person.

The event has been widely reported by the local mainstream media. PowerFM, a well-known radio station, took the initiative to interview the head of “One Million School Shoes” and highly recognized the Embassy’s kindness in the interview. The Pretoria News and independent media websites have reported on this event many times, quoting Ambassador Chen’s message, and commended that the Chinese action will ease the burden of poor families and improve local students’ school experience help them complete their education successfully.

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The “One Million School Shoes” is one of the most influential non-governmental organizations in South Africa. It is committed to advancing the well-being of students by donating school shoes to schools in impoverished communities in South Africa and boosting local education development.

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