Hotel bed linen is the new cool for school

Pupils at Klipheuwel Primary School received donations of shoes and 320 shirts made from linen.

An under-resourced Durbanville school has received more than 300 new shirts made from donated hotel bed linen.

Cape Town-based NPO Royal Kidz donated the 320 school shirts to children at the Klipheuwel Primary School as part of its Sheets for Shirts project.

The NPO’s founder Danolene Johannesen and her team visited the school earlier this month and also donated shoes, warm jackets, and stationery.

Royal Kidz previously donated 3 000 shirts to pupils in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The sheets were collected from Mariott International hotels.

“I feel very thankful to Royal Kidz for the donation given to us, which includes shirts, shoes and other supplies. We are very lucky. These will make me do my best,” said one of the pupils whom the school and donors asked us not to name.

Ms Johannesen said it had been Royal Kidz’s mission since 2013 to dignify children who go to schools without uniforms, or in ragged ones, and in broken or oversized and undersized shoes or even barefoot.

“Vulnerable children at Klipheuwel Primary school in Durbanville are going to get a fairer shot at school life in 2021 with the recent donation of new school shirts, jackets, shoes and socks.”

The Sheets for Shirts initiative took off when Ms Johanessen saw an opportunity to “fashion kids school shirts from the white sheets”.

She said about 700 sheets had been repurposed into more than 3000 school shirts.

The innovation led to the funding of R1.2 million by Marriott International Cape Town for Restore SA, a social enterprise that employs local seamstresses and sends 40 percent of its profits to fund the uniform project.

Restore SA makes the school shirts for the programme and other products for sale. The donation is also made possible by the Shoes for the Future project run by the Marriott Business Council for South Africa.

In a press statement Volker Heiden, Marriott International’s area vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa said: “It’s great to have a sustainable solution for our hotels’ bed sheets that also enables these children to feel self-confident in their school community.”