Boy, 9, knows all about being a goody two shoes

10 March 2017

He is just a normal nine-year-old who loves sport, but has touched the hearts of thousands with his shoe collection initiative.

Darius Gouveia says all he has ever wanted to do was to help the needy and poor.

He has collected 2 562 pairs of shoes, far exceeding his target of 1 000 pairs.

His Sole2Sole initiative started with a homeless child on a street.

"One day we stopped at a robot. I looked out of the window and saw a little boy, a little younger than me, sitting on the hot tar while his mother begged for money."

What worried him was that the boy was kicking stones with his bare feet.

"This made me think how many children out there need shoes. I thought back to the amount of shoes I have in my cupboard that my mom keeps saying are too small for me."

When they got home, Darius and his sister went through his cupboard and took out 14 pairs of old shoes.

His mother, Zita Gouveia, says he was adamant that they return to the robot and give the shoes to the child.

"I said to him that he needs to write a letter to his friends and see how many shoes he can collect for the needy. He wrote the initiative letter and posted it on social media and it skyrocketed. I can’t believe the generosity of some of the people," Gouveia says.

They have received tremendous support from schools.

"We have been everywhere. We have been to squatter camps, to children’s homes and to schools all over to deliver shoes to the needy," she says.

"It has been such an emotional rollercoaster. I cry a lot. He has been doing a lot of talks at schools lately and he speaks better from the heart than from a piece of paper," the mother of two says.

On Tuesday, a school at which Darius spoke collected 700 pairs of shoes.

"We were never expecting that, I couldn’t believe it. I looked at him, turned around and just started crying. I cried my eyes out."

Darius has urged South Africans to continue giving to the initiative.

"Please don’t stop donating, it has really been amazing. The poor people out there really need shoes, because winter is around the corner," Darius says.

He dreams of becoming a Proteas cricket player, and he is a huge fan of AB de Villiers.



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