Joe Maila a champion for the poor

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Late spokesperson Joe Maila was committed to ensuring that children from impoverished communities do not go to school barefooted, says 1Million School Shoes Campaign Chairperson Thabiso Chauke.

Addressing Maila’s memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday, Chauke said his children should be proud of their father because he was a champion for the poor.

“He was a man who quietly performed heroic acts in the lives of poor children across the country,” Chauke said.

Maila was one of the co-founders of the 1Million School Shoes Campaign, a Non-Profit organisation, which provides school shoes to Quantile 1 as well as Quantile 2 schools.

The organisation which was founded about two years ago has reached more than 5000 primary and high school pupils across the country.

“Maila was always the first to identify the children who needed more than school shoes and he would do his best to assist them.

“He would dig deep in his pocket to help children, over and above the donation of the 1Million School Shoes Campaign,” Chauke said.

According to Chauke, Maila once identified an orphanage in Hammanskraal, in northern Gauteng and donated a bed.

“He then approached two members privately to assist him to buy the orphanage some groceries. He ensured that we bought the basics that were needed to run the home,” Chauke said.

He said Maila had a special relationship with the children and loved his own children.

“He was a consummate professional who represented us well and was very passionate, often argued for his views to be heard. He was a warm person, full of life and jokes.

“He was the one who laughed without reservation, smiled unconditionally, gave without expectations, cried at the sight of poverty, and shared the little that he had, went all out for his loved ones and put people first,” Chauke said.

He said Maila served the country with love and commitment.

“I invite and challenge all of you to join our cause in ensuring that we better the lives of the people of our country and the children who are hopeless because of school shoes. I am inviting you to help us restore their dignity,” Chauke said.

Next week the 1Million School Shoes Campaign will dedicate its handover of about 400 school shoes in Carletonville, Western Gauteng, to Maila.

1Million School Shoes Campaign spokesperson Roleta Lebelo said in all of the handovers that the organisation has had, Maila always went beyond the call of duty.

“He would leave us and go to the shops to buy groceries or a uniform for someone. Sometimes when we get to a school and we are short of shoes or we have the wrong sizes, Maila is the first one to offer to go and buy the shoes.

“He was a planner and a strategist, he would always come up with ideas of how we can better the 1Million School Shoes Campaign,” Lebelo said.

Maila, who was the spokesperson for the Minister of Health, passed away last Thursday. He is survived by his wife and two children. His funeral will be held on Saturday in Limpopo. –

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