Sjoe! Young soul touches hearts with his 26,000-plus shoe giveaway

25 December 2018 - 08:00 By IAVAN PIJOOS
Dario Gouveia collected 26,500 pairs of shoes, half of them through his Sole2Sole initiative.
Dario Gouveia collected 26,500 pairs of shoes, half of them through his Sole2Sole initiative.
Image: Supplied

He’s an 11-year-old boy who wants to make a difference and spread love where it is needed most.

Dario Gouveia said his dream was to inspire those around him to help others in need.

Gouveia started collecting shoes for the needy two years ago.

He started a Sole2Sole initiative after coming across a barefoot homeless child.

The Grade 5 pupil immediately saw a need to help those without shoes. So far, he has collected and given away more than 26,000 pairs.

Gouveia sees the initiative as a way of life.

"The project has evolved from just being a project. It’s a way of life for me, paying forward items that we no longer have use of.

"With the help of so many family, friends and the public, Sole2Sole has become a name I am very proud of, and it is very good seeing how others have, too, wanted to start their own initiatives," he said.

Dario Gouveia and his sister, Liana, sort through hundreds of pairs of donated shoes.
Dario Gouveia and his sister, Liana, sort through hundreds of pairs of donated shoes.
Image: Supplied

He describes himself as a avid sport lover and recently received his second red belt in karate. He has his eyes set on receiving his brown belt in 2019.

For Gouveia, it’s all about school, sport and shoes.

His favourite subject is science, because it is "full of fun experiments".

"Our history teacher made us bury an item at the beginning of the year and now, at the end of the year, we get to excavate it and see what it looks like.

"That was cool. It is interesting to see what soil, weather and water does to something," he said.

Gouveia’s dream is to become a geologist, who finds "cool fossils and rocks".

"I love crystals and I have a cool collection of different types."

In his spare time he finds shoes for various initiatives and visits schools and organisations to inform people about his project.

"We try our best to spread the love and not go to the same places. The places that really touch my heart are the ones that don’t get much help from people and from the government. Those are the places we try to help the most," he said.

Gouveia said he received tremendous support from his sister, parents and other family members.

It makes him happy to see a smile on the faces of the people he helps. For him, giving is about making a difference, whether it is one pair or a thousand pairs of shoes.

"It makes me feel like I have made a difference. It makes me feel like I matter and, in turn, I help people to realise that they, too, matter.

"It makes me feel warm knowing that someone will get some wear out of something that was gathering dust in a cupboard."


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