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Running4shoes, a non-profit organization focused on providing shoes to the under privileged school children, initiated a simple yet powerful movement to ensure that every child can wear proper footwear to school.
The organization was founded and pioneered by Sanjay Rajasekharan, a dynamic, young and empathetic 16-year-old who is pursuing his 11th grade at The Harker school in San Jose, California, US.
Sanjay, who was intrigued to find out that children hailing from economically disadvantaged families went to school barefooted, felt that giving shoes to these kids can improve their attendance and academic performance. He noticed that it was not just the children from the villages, but those from urban poverty areas also walked back and forth to school without any footwear.
"Running4Shoes is solely focused on providing shoes to school children in low income neighbourhoods to improve attendance and academic performance. It is heart warming to see the tremendous outpouring of support from donors and dedicated volunteers. With such passionate support, I am confident that Running4Shoes will expand with numerous volunteer led Chapters to help under privileged school children globally to stay and succeed in school and beyond," Sanjay Rajasekharan said.
It is especially true for those children attending Corporation, Government or Aided schools. This is primarily because many of their families cannot afford footwear and it is not even a remote concern for the parents given their other hardships in life.
In some cases, even when the families buy shoes for their children, they quickly grow out of size, leaving them with no useful pair of shoes to wear. The lack of shoes can also result in children's inability to attend school, as shoes are often part of the school uniform. On an average an upper primary school is 3 km away in 22% of areas under habitations making children very vulnerable to soil transmitted diseases which can lead to serious illnesses & many cases resulting in death since most of the children go around barefoot.
Running4shoes was successful in providing 490 pairs of shoes between Sheila Kothavala Institute for Deaf (SKID) Rustom Bagh Bangalore and PUP School, Muthurayana Jeebi, Hosur on 27th December 2018, as Sanjay & his team of volunteers from Cleo Software strongly believe in equal opportunity to all children needless of their economic background.
Ms. Jessy Samuel, Principal of Sheila Kothavala Institute for Deaf (SKID) said, "It is gratifying to see Sanjay, at such a tender age of 16, have the foresight and empathy to drive such a worthy movement when most children of his age indulge in gadgets and are busy following their individual dreams and aspirations. "
On the other hand Mr. Nagaprasad from PUP School, Muthurayana Jeebi, Hosur said " It is the first time someone thought of something so noble & so many children of our school have benefitted, Sanjay & his team of volunteers are doing such a great job in bringing warm smiles on the faces of these children".
Cleo Software, India, Pvt. Ltd was a key sponsor for these shoe donation events, and several employees from Cleo Software volunteered in a significant manner in helping Sanjay and his team to flawlessly coordinate and deliver shoes to the school children.