CHENNAI, India – Ford India volunteers distributed free sports shoes to hundreds of school children living in villages near its plant in Maraimalai Nagar as part of Ford's Global Week of Caring initiative.
Volunteers this year took up the cause of promoting safety and hygiene among school children, and ensuring that all primary school children had covered feet was the first step.
"Ford's Global Week of Caring is our way of caring for the communities around us and we take it very seriously. We are aware of the hazards of small children being prone to injuries and exposed to germs by walking barefoot, and hence decided to donate shoes to primary students in several village schools around the plant," said Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, Ford India, who handed over shoes at the Thirukkachur Government Primary School last week.
Getting the right size to each of the 817 primary students in seven different village schools was a logistical challenge overcome by the teamwork of Ford India volunteers. Sparing time to visit each of these schools, measuring the foot sizes of the students and then labelling them correctly with student names, all this was achieved by the enthusiastic volunteers in record time. Ford India also packed the boxes of white sports shoes with two pairs of white socks and an instruction manual in Tamil on how to clean the shoes.
Muthu, a student of Class II in Peramanur Government School, lives in the sleepy hamlet of Permanur and has to walk nearly 1.5 kilometres to school everyday. Like many of his classmates, Muthu's parents don’t have enough money to afford him a pair of shoes, so he couldn't hide his happiness when he received his shoes from Ford India.
"These fit me perfectly. I am happy to have them and can wear them to school."
His classmate, Subasri had old slippers but never proper shoes. "I like to run and be involved in sports. Now these shoes will help me do just that," she said.
"It was a heartwarming experience to provide new shoes to the kids, many of whom had old, worn out slippers or none at all," said P.M. Sundar, a volunteer from Ford India.
Several Ford executives such as Balasundaram Radhakrishnan, vice president, Powertrain Operations, J. Sreenivasan, general manager, Finance, and Dominic Savvio, general manager, ER, visited different neighbouring schools to hand over the shoes.
"We thank you immensely for getting the kids something that they badly needed and for enriching their childhood," said P. Komal, a teacher at the Kattur Government Middle School.
|Volunteers get the shoes ready.
||Muthu and Subasri sport their new shoes.|