Seth tries to walk in orphan’s shoes


St Matthew’s Primary School student, Seth Gray. Photo supplied.

WHAT BEGAN as a simple thought from a six-year-old Canberra student has turned into much more for children living in Kenya’s orphanages and crowded refugee camps.

Seth Gray, a Year 2 student from Page’s St Matthew’s Primary School, and his family visited an orphanage when they travelled recently to Kenya.

What stood out to Seth was that so many children did not have shoes. After his family returned to Australia, he could not let this image go and decided he was going to help them get shoes.

He asked his teacher if it he could go to each classroom and ask for donations of old shoes.

“I really want to collect shoes that we don’t need any more and send them to the children in Kenya because they need them,” Seth said.

A few tubs and baskets were placed near the school’s front office and with through the generosity of the St Matthew’s community, the shoes began to pour in.

At the end of term, Seth collected the donated shoes and was determined to send them on as promised.

“We filled five suitcases,” he said.

However, sending the shoes to another country included obstacles, mostly due to import taxes on donated items and a range of custom-related legalities. But Seth and his family persevered and began looking for organisations that were closely aligned with Seth’s initial desire to ‘help children get shoes’.

They came across a private organisation in South Australia called Barefoot to Boots which supports refugee children living in Kenyan camps and their neighbouring communities.

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Seth was able to add his package to their next scheduled flight, and his initial vision of sending the donated shoes became a reality.

His teacher, Agi Ryan, was delighted to receive an email from the Gray family, along with photographs letting her know that Seth’s first package had been received.

“It’s made me realise what a huge difference an individual can make,” Mr Ryan said.

“I am just blown away by the result and want to send out a big thank you to the students, parents and teachers at St Matthew’s for their generous donations, and in particular to Seth and his family, whose amazing initiative has inspired us all.”


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