At our recent St Patricks Night Dinner Dance in Cape Town, the Irish South African Association (ISAA) were delighted and impressed by the Irish dancers who entertained us.
One of the dancing groups in particular caught our eye. They were African children from one of the townships and all dancing barefoot.
For those who are unaware, some of the Townships have in excess of half a million people and the vast majority live in shacks measuring an average of 10ft x 8ft (3m x 2.4m) with earthen floors. They are built of old corrugated galvanised sheets and/or scraps of plywood.
The occupants are, on average, two adults and five children per shack. No running water and obviously no bathrooms. Only a small minority have electricity.
Despite the condition in which the children find themselves, an increasing number are interested in learning Irish step-dancing. We recently visited the one of the schools where these children learn Irish dancing to find out why they were dancing barefoot. Wendy, their teacher confided in us the family budget could never extend to a pair of dancing shoes, hence this appeal.
Primarily we are looking for second hand shoes from size 4 upwards in both hard and soft.
Any costumes, male or female, would be a bonus. We would especially welcome a sponsorship to cover the twice weekly cost of the transport to and from the dance school which costs R60 per week per child or €4.20. The tuition fees which are currently set at R1,020 per term or €70 per child and there are four terms per year. Perhaps you would like to ‘adopt’ a pupil and in return you will receive regular updates directly from ‘your’ pupil on their progress. In the Thurles area the collection point will be John and Marie Harnett of Parkstown – 086 829 5235 - Horse & Jockey near Thurles.
Any shoes or clothes you wish to donate can be dropped in or sent by post to this location. Anyone wishing to make a cash contribution/sponsorship, please contact us at email@example.com for bank details.
Our group are from Templederry and currently domiciled in Cape Town.
We have been involved in a number of fundraising concerts in Tipperary including the Christopher Cooke Appeal in 2007, the Samaritans, ChildLine and more recently we organised a concert in Borrisoleigh for the LauraLynn Childrens Hospice. You can contact the ISAA directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Valerie on 0027 72 846 3724.