FEEL GOOD | Footing the bill! Mitchells Plain coach on mission to raise funds for school kids

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Steyn with his little supporters.
Steyn with his little supporters.
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  • Coach Frank Steyn along with his Run4Schools organisation has raised over R65 000, and has already donated 1 000 pairs of shoes to schools in Mitchells Plain.
  • In 2019, he decided that he would run the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in school shoes to raise funds for those in need of school shoes. 
  • This year the humanitarian is preparing to do the Ultra-trail Cape Town (UTCT) run to raise awareness and funds to assist those in need. 

Mitchells Plain coach Frank Steyn has already raised more than R65 000 through his Run4Schools sports organisation for needy children and underprivileged schools in the suburb, now he aims to double that amount to help even more.

Steyn is also well known for donating school shoes to children in the area, something he has been doing for several years. 

Run4Schools was founded in 2004 by Leslie Pangemanan who had been visiting South Africa from the Netherlands, where he saw a great need for upgrading schools and sports development in the area. 

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Speaking to News24, Pangemanan said that during his time in SA, he and the principal of Alpine Primary in Mitchells Plain had agreed to find some "solution" to assist where possible.

Shortly afterwards, he started an organisation in Mitchells Plain to help the schoolchildren out.

With the help of Steyn, they have built the organisation into a well-loved institution among the kids and residents in the area. 

Natasha Pather, principal at Alpine Primary, said: "It’s been welcoming to receive these donations from the organisation, Alpine and Run4School have a wonderful relationship and it gives me great pleasure that our school was one of the many schools to be a part of this initiative."

shoes shoes shoes
Tafelsig Primary is one of the school in Mitchells Plain that received school shoes.
Photo Supplied Supplied

The 34-year-old Steyn, who is general manager of Run4Schools in SA, says helping his community is what he lives for. Run4Schools helps kids with extramural activities and homework after school, from Mondays to Fridays. 

Some of the schools benefitting from the organisation are Alpine Primary, Northwood Primary, Tafelsig Primary, and Cascade Primary school.

In 2019, "Coach Steyn" decided that he would run the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in school shoes to raise funds for those in need of school shoes. 

Run 4 schools organization
Frank running in school shoes.
News24 Supplied

Steyn completed the marathon in 7 hours, 16 minutes and 33 seconds, and managed to raise more than R66 000.

"I lost 10 toenails and was close to giving up, but I remembered why I was doing this," he said. 

Raised

With the help of MySchool, Steyn said they matched the amount of money raised, and raised a total of over R130 000.  

"A lot of school shoes were bought and donated to schools within the Mitchells Plain area," he said. 

Every grade at each school received school shoes from the foundation. 

Good cause
Shoes Frank Steyn wore for his marathons.
Photo Supplied Supplied

The leftover school shoes were given out to some children in the George area. Evelyn Oosthuizen drove to George to hand out school shoes to those who required them.

"I drove around in the Pacaltsorp area to look for kids who needed shoes. Some of them were very shy in receiving them," she said. 

Oosthuizen said it looked as if the children were expecting her to ask for money for the shoes, but when she said "it’s for free", they slowly opened up to her. 

kids
General Manger for Run4schools ran his marathon in school shoes.
Photo Supplied Supplied

Acting principal of Tafelsig Primary Marie Bruintjies told News24 that receiving such a generous donation had filled her heart with joy.

"The joy of knowing some of our learners can now have comfortable school shoes on is a blessing. We are in a poverty-stricken area and are hit hard by the economic challenges in this time," she added.

Last year, Steyn embarked on another 56km Ultra Marathon in school shoes, where he raised funds to assist the needy with food parcels during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This year, he is preparing to do the Ultra-trail Cape Town (UTCT) run with the foundation to raise awareness and funds to assist those in need.  

*Correction: In the original version of this article it said Westridge High was part of the initiative. This was not the case. The article has been changed to reflect this and include the Cascade Primary school.

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