Portishead retailer's suitcase appeal to support vulnerable African children

Tanya, her family and other volunteers in Kenya in 2019.

Tanya, her family and other volunteers in Kenya in 2019. - Credit: Tanya Marriott

A Portishead retailer has launched an appeal for large unwanted suitcases.

Tanya Marriott, who runs SoleLution shoe shop in the town's High Street has been given the green light to return to Kenya in January to support a vulnerable African community.

Since 2017 SoleLution family footwear store has collected second hand school shoes donated by customers, for children at Jolaurabi School in Mombasa.

Tanya said: “In July 2017 we started collecting worn but still wearable shoes to help Educate the Kids, a charity that helps children to a better future in Africa.

"We have many customers in Portishead and Clifton whose children grow out of their shoes before they wear them out and I wanted to give them the option to recycle them.”

Tanya travelled to Jolaurabi School in January 2018 to help fit the 300+ donated pairs of shoes. She fell in love with the children and their families there and vowed to continue to support them, her aim being to provide shoes for all 800 pupils at the school on an annual basis.

In 2019 and 2020 Tanya returned with her family and some friends with more shoes but the pandemic then put a stop to the visits, until now.

Most Read

Tanya added: “The children need our support now more than ever because of the pandemic and so we are very excited to be taking more shoes out there in January 2022, the beginning of their school year.

"However, we now need large suitcases to carry the shoes in. We also need socks as they are ridiculously expensive in Kenya and we are fundraising to help with the transport costs.

"As volunteers we all pay for our own flights and accommodation, so any money raised will just help pay to transport the shoes.”

Suitcases, socks and shoes can be donated at the shop.

To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jolaurabitrip2022

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter