ABU DHABI // With thousands of Filipino children walking barefoot to school, an Abu Dhabi charity is collecting as many flip-flops as it can to send to the Philippines.
The non-profit Abu Dhabi Cause Connect launched its Flip Flop campaign last week to support school children in the province of Laguna.
There are 3,188 pupils who attend the state-run Dayap Elementary and Santo Tomas Elementary schools in Calauan, south of Manila.
The children and their families are victims of Typhoon Ketsana, which hit Manila in September 2009, killing nearly 300 people and damaging the homes of about three million.
"They have a lot of factors against them, but in spite of all these they wish to get a decent education and walk miles barefoot seeking that," said Laiza Ashraf, a campaign manager at Abu Dhabi Cause Connect.
"We hope to make their daily walk to school easier by collecting as many flip flops as possible through our campaign."
The Abu Dhabi community is "so generous and really very innovative in seeking out help from their network", Ms Ashraf said.
Dorian Rogers, a teacher in Abu Dhabi and an award-winning poet, is encouraging everyone who attends his "Rooftop Rhythms" event at the Rocco Forte Hotel this Wednesday to bring flip-flops.
On the same day, students of a yoga class organised by Neli Hristova at Khalidiya Park will also be asked to donate the sandals.
"They're using their talents and skills to spike interest in the campaign," Ms Ashraf said.
Abu Dhabi Cause Connect is co-ordinating with the University of the Philippines Alumni Association - UAE and Bantay Bata, a child welfare programme.
"We are very humbled by the overwhelming support from non-Filipino expatriates, organisations and schools," said Raquel Dulay, head of the group's special projects committee. "Their help will definitely go a long way to help poor Filipino students back home."
Residents are asked to drop off flip-flops for children aged 6 to 12 at Api Cae Gourmet in Khalidiya before November 25.
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* This article has been amended since it was first published to reflect that Dorian Rogers is not a member of New York University Abu Dhabi.