Bright Generation Community Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), with the support of TOMS, has instituted a development programme that will see to the giving of free shoes and educational supplies to support the educational needs of school children in deprived communities in Ghana.
Running alongside the free shoes project is a de-worming programme for the school kids, aimed at treating soil transmitted worm infestation, which causes a host of serious health problems and often prevents children from attending school, or being able to concentrate while in class.
Ms. Bernice Dapaah, Executive Director of the NGO, noted that many families in deprived areas in Ghana cannot afford proper shoes, but are too embarrassed to send their children to school without them, which situation further entrenches their poverty.
She said many times children cannot attend school bare footed, because shoes are a required part of their uniform, and if they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. "If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realise their potential. Without shoes, most children who are out of school feel different, and feel they run the risks of being bullied, or at least, stereotyped as a poor child by other school children," she pointed out.
It was in the light of these that the NGO has embarked on the free shoes project to protect school children in deprived areas in Ghana from exposure to injury and disease each day, saying "Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause."
Ms. Bernice Dapaah said children who are healthy are more likely to be successful students, hence the NGO's commitment in ensuring quality education in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which set 2015 as the year in which Universal Primary Education (MDG-2) and Gender Equality (MDG-3) are to be achieved.