DDO School students buy shoes for Afghans

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A Canadian soldier walks with an Afghan boy. Many of the children walk without shoes, even in the winter

Students at Dollard des Ormeaux Elementary School know more about the price of shoes in Afghanistan these days. And they can be proud that they have helped children over there to get a pair!

After receiving a banner from some students in Afghanistan, thanking them for sharing their parents overseas, Claire Groulx wanted to help her students make a difference. The spiritual animator stumbled upon the Shoes for Afghani Children project.

Since then, her students in most of the Central Québec School Board elementary schools have been donating their hard earned toonies to the cause — covering the cost of a pair of shoes for a child in Afghanistan.

Groulx teamed up with Major Pierre Huet, reconnaissance squadron commander, with the 3e battaillon du 22e Régiment du Canada of Base Valcartier.

“When [Huet] got there he noticed all these kids that didn’t have any shoes and winter was coming. He thought it would be very practical,” explained Groulx.

“The shoes are made right there in Kandahar by local people. The cost is really fantastic — $2 a pair. It was good for the economy.” And easier on the feet of children who walk long distances.

She was hooked. She presented the project to the students at DDO who were all ears. The goal was not the amount raised, she explained, “but the personal contact,” and children helping other children.

Groulx emailed student questions to Huet and read them his responses. They wanted to know what Afghans eat (goat) and what kinds of pets the children owned (cats, dogs and lizards).

Huet and Groulx met up before Christmas in Quebec. He promised to speak to students in March. “When he gets the shoes done and gives them out, he’s supposed to send me pictures,” she added.

“When I started, that was my idea,” she said. “The kids at DDO, they’ve got enough missing their own parents. They were the most touched. I remember there was this sports day at the school in the middle of September. Right in the middle of it I started talking [about the project] and it went quiet. It touched them so much,” said Groulx. “It gave them a positive outlook on what their parents were doing and not focusing only on the fighting. We’re [in Afghanistan] to help somebody out. That’s what the kids are doing with the project.”

The QCT will be helping to collect donations for the Shoes for Afghani Children project. Drop by our office or send your donation. Please see Page 4 for more information.