Youth Action International (YAI), has begun the distribution of close to 5,000 pairs of shoes to young people in Liberia. The announcement was made last weekend by its executive director, Dr. Kimmie Weeks.
The shoe distributions, according to a statement, have already commenced, with several hundred young public school students benefiting from the initiative.
Dr. Weeks informed students at the Annie Banks Williams High School in Brewerville, outside Monrovia, that YAI launched the shoe project to ensure that young people who may struggle to purchase a good pair of shoes, could get one “free of charge” to last them through the end of their high school studies.
Weeks said that the shoe donations were motivated in part by his own recollection of being in high school and not always having a decent pair of shoes.
“I can recall that at one point I had repaired my shoes so many times that the shoemaker eventually told me it was damaged beyond repair,” Dr. Weeks told the students.
Several communities, schools and hundreds of young people have already benefited from the distributions. Shoes have been distributed to parts of Paynesville, Central Monrovia, Somalia Drive, Kakata, Gbarnga, and to several public schools.
John Collins, one of the recipients, expressed gratitude for the donation, saying: “For me, I have never had a good pair of shoes like the one Dr. Weeks gave me today. I only own a pair of slippers and it’s one of the reasons I cannot even go to the free government school, because I cannot afford it. So far, Dr. Weeks is the only person to extend this gesture to us.”
Founded by Kimmie Weeks in 2005, YAI is on a mission to provide education, healthcare and economic empowerment for children and young people in post-war African countries.
Since its establishment, YAI has impacted more than 150,000 people in at least five African countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda.