Selita Ebanks knows what it’s like to walk the halls of George Town Primary School with naked feet.
‘It was not a good feeling,’ she said.
The barefoot student turned professional model returned to her primary school alma mater yesterday with more than 60 pairs of shoes in tow.
‘I knew I had to do something when young friends started e-mailing me after the Hurricane to say they had no school shoes. I remember when I did not have any shoes to wear to primary school,’ she said.
‘It was easy to get shoes in the United States,’ said Ms Ebanks, ‘So I called Neiman Marcus, a company I work for. They gladly offered to help. A number of other friends and associates also donated money and along with proceeds from my last charity event I purchased the shoes and personally flew back to Cayman to give them to the students,’ she said.
Ms Ebanks was on Grand Cayman last year to launch Stardom Freedom Foundation to help youngsters realise their potential and dreams.
‘What Cayman needs right now is not a lot of programmes but more funding,’ she said.
‘A new pair of shoes does wonders,’ said Ms Ebanks. ‘Most children have uniforms but sometime parents cannot afford the right shoes, especially in these times. Good and comfortable shoes help your confidence and are a self identity. Clean shoes; boy that makes you feel good,’ she said.
‘I just felt new shoes would help lighten and bring back smiles to faces that had been through the devastating effect of Hurricane Ivan.
Ms Ebanks said she is working on fundraisers in New York and Cayman to raise money for smaller programmes.
She said when she returns to New York she will get together with other celebrities and designers and encourage them to come to the Cayman Islands to host fashion shows and modelling parties to raise money for worthy causes.
‘We are very grateful for the donation because we still have a number of students attending school after the hurricane who do not have appropriate shoes,’ said George Town Primary School Principal Ms Marie Martin.