social responsibility

{ Malwelwe Shoe Campaign 2017 }

This shoe campaign is one that started from a photograph. Operation Starfish organised a visit to Malwelwe Primary School in Kweneng District Northwest of Botswana on the 28th November 2016 to donate food items and care packages to the students.

Operation Starfish (OS) is an organisation that started 2002, focusing mainly on providing support to underprivileged children in Botswana and to encourage academic performances in rural schools. Another focus of OS is to enable the ‘privileged’ youth to build a community with the underprivileged youth, learning from each other and inspiring each other along the way.

On this particular visit, OS collaborated with a ‘privileged school’ in the city, namely Northside Primary School, who had their students prepare care packages for OS to deliver. Each package was filled with basic household items that were not easily accessible for the families in Malwelwe village. My job as photographer that day was to capture the experience and capture the happy faces of the children when they received the donations and played games with our volunteers.

As a creative however, I did something that I tend to do whenever there is a camera in my hands, I tried to capture as many authentic photographs as I could. Photographs of the children in their spaces as they would be if we were not there that day. I photographed the reality that remains once we leave. That is when the photos began to speak for themselves.

It became abundantly clear of what our next project should be. The students at Malwelwe Primary School walk about 7 kilometres to school every day and back and a lot of them do this without proper shoes if not completely barefoot. Looking at their bare feet was heart breaking and it didn’t take long before we began the Malwelwe Shoe Campaign.

We used the photographs as a call to action, because no matter how we may have phrased it, the photographs were enough to encourage donations. We informed and collected donations from 5 different schools in Gaborone city as well as external and cash donations. Our initial aim was to collect at least 600 pairs of shoes in donations and as of the 8th of April, we officially managed to collect 900 pairs of shoes (both new and second hand) for the all students at Malwelwe Primary School. We at Operation Starfish want to convey our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who donated and volunteered on this mission. This is only the beginning!

-Deepali Dave

Operation Starfish (OS)

social responsibility
social responsibility
social responsibility