Santa Shoe Box was an initiative started in 2016 with grade 4-7 learners of Woodlands school in Sabie. Part of the Social Science curriculum was learning about children from highly disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The learners were so touched and saddened by the stories they read that they wanted to do something, anything to assist. I knew about the official Santa Shoe Box Project and the collection point in Nelspruit. I looked up if we could join the movement, however, it was too late for us to join the official, international, project. I decided then to start a little (non-affiliated) Santa Shoe Box Project here in Sabie. If we had joined the main project, Sabie is not a receiving area and would not have received any of the boxes, in any case. I contacted Lindani Primary School’s former Principal (Mr Mashinga) with the idea and he was more than excited to nominate highly underprivileged children from his school to be recipients,” said Ronna Vermaak, newly appointed Headmistress of Woodlands.
In 2016, Woodlands was able to provide 18 boxes to Lindani Primary School. The parents and teachers from Woodlands have been able to fill 33 boxes this year.
Vermaak further said: “We feel honoured to be able to give and wish to instil in the learners the idea that ‘to give is better than to receive’. ‘Sabie’ Santa Shoe Box Project (unaffiliated) is an initiative that we hope runs for many more years and can expand to many schools and safe houses/orphanages in our local area that have underprivileged children.”
The boxes consist of the following: An outfit, school supplies, toiletries, age-appropriate gift/ toy and sweets. Santa came early this year to some kids in Sabie that truly needs it.