Portishead shop owner calls for town to help poverty-stricken children

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 February 2019

SoleLution owner Tanya Marriott visited Kenya armed with suitcases filled with shoes.

SoleLution owner Tanya Marriott visited Kenya armed with suitcases filled with shoes.

Archant

A Portishead trader has delighted hundreds of needy African schoolchildren after donating a huge collection of shoes.

Tanya Marriott, owner of independent shoe shop SoleLution in High Street, recently returned from a trip to Kenya where she handed out hundreds of pairs of good-quality used school shoes which were donated by people from North Somerset.

Tanya visited the Jolaurabi School in January, armed with suitcases full of footwear with hopes of ‘protecting the children’s feet from many diseases and making the long walk to and from school more comfortable’.

Students from the school visited Portishead in November to perform choir shows at Somerset Hall and Gordano School, delighting the audiences with their voices and inspirational stories.

For Tanya, the trip was a rewarding experience – but it highlighted the plight of the impoverished children at the Mombasa-based school.

She said: “It was a complete emotional rollercoaster but it is amazing to actually see in real life the difference we are making to people’s lives.

“Families often live in one room with no electricity and nothing more than a rug to sleep on.

“However the children all seem so happy and content. They are so grateful for the opportunity to get an education; it gives them hope for a better future.”

The entrepreneur funds the trips herself and her family also sponsor some children to support their studies and provide meals.

Despite the donations many children at the school are still in need of footwear, so Tanya has vowed to return to the village in May with more shoes – and hopes customers will continue to donate more pairs.

Tanya’s shops in Portishead and Clifton have drop-off points, and shoe donations are rewarded with a £1 voucher which can be spent on a new pair of school shoes.

She added: “The state of some of the old shoes the children were wearing was horrific – some with barely a sole.

“Shoes protect the children’s feet from many diseases and make the long walk to and from school more comfortable.

“Education could be the step up these children need, to help them escape from poverty.

“Thank you to everyone who has donated shoes or trainers, please keep them coming.”

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