Tipperary dancers urged to donate their shoes to Africa

Township children learn Irish Dancing

Barefoot dancing

African girls learning to Irish Dance

At a recent St Patricks Night Dinner Dance in Cape Town, those gathered were delighted and impressed by the Irish dancers who entertained them.  

One of the dancing groups in particular caught the eye -  they were African children from one of the townships and all dancing barefoot.

For those who are unaware, some of the Townships have in excess of half a million people and the vast majority live in shacks measuring an average of 10ft x 8ft (3m x 2.4m) with earthen floors.  They are built of old corrugated galvanised sheets and/or scraps of plywood.  The occupants are, on average, 2 adults and 5 children per shack.  No running water and obviously no bathrooms.  Only a small minority have electricity.  

Galvanised homes

Despite the condition in which the children find themselves, an increasing number are interested in learning Irish step-dancing.   

A Tipperary couple recently visited the one of the schools where these children learn Irish dancing to find out why they were dancing barefoot.  Wendy, their teacher confided in the visitors the family budget could never extend to a pair of dancing shoes, hence this appeal.  

John and Marie Harnett are appealing their county-men and women for second hand shoes from size 4 upwards in both hard and soft.  Any costumes, male or female, would be a bonus.

The group would especially welcome a sponsorship to cover the twice weekly cost of the transport to and from the dance school which costs R60 per week per child or €4.20.  The tuition fees which are currently set at R1,020 per term or €70 per child and there are four terms per year. Perhaps you would like to ‘adopt’ a pupil and in return you will receive regular updates directly from ‘your’ pupil on their progress.

In the Thurles area the collection point will be John and Marie Harnett of Parkstown – 086 829 5235 - Horse & Jockey near Thurles.  Any shoes or clothes you wish to donate can be dropped in or sent by post to this location.   Anyone wishing to make a cash contribution/sponsorship, please contact us at castletreve@gmail.com for bank details.

John and Marie  are from Templederry and currently domiciled in Cape Town.  They have been involved in a number of fundraising concerts in Tipperary including the Christopher Cooke Appeal in 2007, the Samaritans, ChildLine and more recently we organised a concert in Borrisoleigh for the LauraLynn Childrens Hospice.  You can contact them directly at castletreve@gmail.com or phone Valerie on 0027 72 846 3724.