A young Kumon Student is one of SA's Youth Heroes!
Dario was chosen as the 947 Lead SA Youth Hero for March 2017! The reason for this accolade all started earlier in the year, when at the age of nine, while in the car with his family, Dario spotted a young boy kicking stones around with his bare feet on the side of the road. He had a pair of brand new shoes at home that he had recently discovered did not fit him anymore, and he asked his mom, Zita, whether he could give this young boy his shoes. Dario and his sister Liana went home and were able to put fourteen pairs of shoes together to give to this young boy.
After this incident, Dario wrote a letter appealing to everyone to assist him in collecting 1000 pairs of shoes for those who do not have. This letter went viral on social media. Radio stations such as 702 and 947 made contact with the family and helped spread the message. Within two and a half weeks Dario had collected his target of 1000 pairs of shoes.
Dario (Grade 6) and Liana (Grade 4) are both Kumon students at the Alberton, Randhart Study Centre, and the centre is proud of the work Dario and his family are doing, and support them with donations of shoes.
During Sole2Sole’s first year, 14 000 pairs of shoes were collected and distributed. In 2019 they collected 13 000 shoes in just over a three month period! The goal now is to collect 50 000 pairs of shoes, and then to work towards 80 000 and beyond.
Dario has learnt that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” He feels that anyone can start something at any age, to help somebody. “If you can’t feed 100, feed one. Helping even one person is giving hope. Start off small”, he encourages, “and it will grow. The more effort you put into something, the more you will get out.”
Liana, Dario’s sister is a great help with the Sole2Sole project, and is very good at interacting with the younger audience when Dario is invited to give talks. Zita says that this project has helped Dario with his public speaking, as he is invited to address schools as well as businesses; it has also increased his confidence.
Sole2Sole works with many organisations such as churches, orphanages and underprivileged schools. In the beginning it was difficult to find the right organisations to contribute to, but now Sole2Sole is well known, with organisations contacting them directly as well, which has made the need for a waiting list necessary.
Zita explains that Sole2Sole is not about Dario. They believe in helping other young people to do the same thing, inspiring independence. The project has drop-off points for shoes at various places in Gauteng. There are also children that drive the initiative of collecting shoes in their communities, and then count, sort and bind the shoes, in preparation for distribution. The Gouveia family still manage were the shoes are distributed, as it is important for them to know where every shoe goes.
Dario would like to be a Mechanical Engineer one day. He likes working with numbers, with maths being one of his best subjects. He enjoys building things and being outdoors, and enjoys doing Karate as well as playing cricket. Liana would like to be an orthodontist when she is older, and loves her dancing.
Dario is a wonderful example of someone who has looked beyond himself for solutions that will improve the lives of others.
For more of the Sole2Sole story, or if you would like to contribute: www.facebook.com/Sole2SoleDario/