A New City College lecturer has been so shocked by the poverty he has witnessed in East London, that he is walking 100 miles barefoot to raise money for a food bank charity.
Mentesnot Mengesha, who trains adult students to become teachers at NCC’s Hackney campus, is a former refugee himself, who fled from war-torn Ethiopia 30 years ago.
He decided he had to do something to help struggling families when on his way home from work he saw a schoolboy walking with his dad in shoes so worn and old that he could see his toes through them.
Mentesnot said: “The young boy had come straight from school, in his uniform, and his shoes were completely worn out. I could see his toes. My heart was broken but I couldn’t do anything. I could have spared his father £20, but that’s no solution at all and I wanted him to keep his dignity.”
The issue played on his mind and he started to make enquiries as to how he could help raise awareness and funds to help families in need – especially those affected by the Covid pandemic.
He was introduced to the Bonny Downs Community Association, a charity which is based in East Ham and is a lifeline for many struggling families, running food banks, providing clothes and holding after-school clubs.