Partnering with Purpose: Bata SA and Lion Match school shoe drive underway

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Two much-loved South African companies – footwear giant Bata South Africa and FMCG manufacturer, The Lion Match Company – have teamed up to tackle the issue of children in South Africa who face the daily challenge of attending school without proper footwear. To date, the partnership has benefitted over 330 children at four schools, with the most recent handovers at Langalibalele Primary School and Ohlange High School in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal.

For generations, both Bata and The Lion Match Company have been closely associated with the school journey of South African children through their renowned brands. Bata SA produces more than 4 million school shoes in the country each year, including Toughees, the most trusted school shoe since 1954. Over 2.5 million tins of Lion’s Quality Shoe Polish are produced each year, giving shoes lasting shine for generations of children, while protecting them from scuffing during busy days spent between the classroom and playground.

A common purpose and shared values further unites the two entities. Clear synergies exist between the Bata Children’s Programme (BCP), which has been striving to alleviate the burden on underprivileged school children since 2010, and Lion Quality Shoe Polish’s ongoing effort to donate school shoes and school supplies to deserving learners, helping to restore their dignity.

Monde Ntuli, Brand Manager for Lion Quality Shoe Polish, said, “Both The Lion Match Company and Bata recognise that far too many children in South Africa go to school daily either barefoot or without proper footwear, risking injury and infection. Every child deserves an opportunity to shine – and it starts with the shoes they put on in the morning. This is why we are proud to partner with Bata and hope to restore pride and dignity for as many of these vulnerable children and underprivileged schools as possible.”

Michael Wyatt, Managing Director at Bata South Africa, agreed: “Bata firmly believes in collaborating and addressing worldwide issues locally by forming valuable partnerships with brands that share our principles and aspire to bring positive change in the lives of those who require the most aid. With formidable partners such as The Lion Match Company, we believe we can steadily build a brighter future for South African children.”

In support of the initiative, Bata is donating half of the quantities of shoes required at schools identified by The Lion Match Company nationally, while the remainder will be supplied at Bata’s discounted rates for corporate bulk orders. Lion Match will donate 20 cents from every specially marked tin of Lion Quality Shoe Polish sold, to fund the purchase of new school shoes.

Bata pursues numerous partnerships with corporate South Africa and civil society to ensure that South African children can put their best foot forward and access opportunities that help them reach their full potential.

During April 2023, anyone who purchases school shoes via the Toughees website and online store will also receive a free Lion Quality Shoe Polish with their order, to keep their Toughees looking their best, protected from water and scuffing, and with leather strength and long-lasting shine.