The Flanagan & Gerard team handing out Bathu shoes to the pupils at the Realogile Secondary School in Alexandra
Flanagan & Gerard Foundation, partnering with Bathu Care Foundation, donated new shoes to over 600 children from three Alexandra township schools. The initiative aims to protect these children from winter’s chill and make their walk to school easier. Less physical discomfort also facilitates better focus in class, encouraging improved educational results.
Not only are the shoes a perfect fit for the kids (they have been specifically sized for each recipient) but the initiative is a perfect pairing of purpose-driven players in South African retail.
Flanagan & Gerard is a retail property developer and investor that brings much-needed infrastructure and amenities to communities across the country in partnership with leading retailers. Homegrown Bathu Shoes is one of SA’s most exciting up-and-coming retail businesses. Loved by locals, the footwear brand’s success from humble beginnings is truly inspirational. Flanagan & Gerard has partnered with Bathu as it has grown and has stores across the Flanagan & Gerard portfolio, including Thavhani Mall, Mall of the North, Springs Mall, Highveld Mall and Vaal Mall.
What makes this collaboration particularly unique is that retailers and landlords often sit on opposite sides of the table. Instead, Bathu and Flanagan & Gerard are working shoulder-to-shoulder with a common goal: to support and inspire those in need. They agree that immediate help is essential, but so too is long-term inspiration. Flanagan & Gerard and Bathu are committed to providing both.
The Flanagan & Gerard Foundation prioritises education because it offers a long-term, sustainable solution, and the right support can empower individuals to overcome challenging situations. It also provides essential welfare such as clothing, food, and shelter as an immediate solution for those most in need. It aims to uplift communities where Flanagan & Gerard has property assets. Alexandra township, near Flanagan & Gerard’s head office at Morningside Shopping Centre, is an urban area where this support can make a significant impact.
The initiative sought out three local schools within this township that required assistance and coordinated with each principal. The schools are Emfundisweni Primary School led by Principal Thembakazi Giyama, Minerva High School with Principal Nonsikelelo Tsatsi, and Realogile Secondary School headed by Principal Matthews Choshi.
609 children from these schools were delighted to receive genuine leather Bathu shoes with a black matt finish, designed to look great, be durable and easy to maintain.
The Flanagan & Gerard Foundation supports the Bathu Cares Foundation and shares Bathu’s commitment to donate 1 million pairs of shoes within 10 years. It seeks partners that understand what it means to restore hope, plough positive impact amongst others, to uplift each and every individual by making sure they are dignified when going to school. By partnering with Flanagan & Gerard, Bathu is living up to its promise of walking the journey with less fortunate children.
Speaking at the handover, Paul Gerard, Managing Director of Flanagan & Gerard, said, “We are grateful to work on this remarkable project alongside Bathu and the schools, and we look forward to continuing to make a positive impact.”
Cedric Diphoko, Managing Director of Bathu, added, “We are deeply committed to supporting our communities and this school project holds a special place in our hearts. It is through partnerships like these that we can make a lasting impact and bring about positive change.”
Diphoko confirmed that this initiative brought Bathu’s donation of shoes in various communities to 70,000 pairs so far. “This would not be possible without this collaboration, which enables us to provide a platform for individuals to embark on their transformative journeys.”
Nkateko Khoza, Non-executive Director of Flanagan & Gerard, said, “We wholeheartedly align ourselves with this school project in the firm belief that shoes play a vital role as they accompany you on every step of your education journey, and feeling comfortable and confident in the school environment is paramount.”
Emfundisweni Primary School principal, Thembakazi Giyama, said, “This partnership holds deep significance for us. We stand together in our commitment to education and progress.”
Realogile Secondary School Principal, Matthews Choshi, said, “Our school is situated in an area facing significant socioeconomic challenges and many of our learners have struggled with not having proper school uniforms. Today, thanks to the generous donation of shoes, we can ensure that our learners no longer have to face any embarrassment.”