This GivingTuesday, you can change a child’s life by giving a pair of shoes.
What’s so important about shoes?
1. Shoes protect children from injury. The children we serve live in areas where walking is the main form of transportation. This means that their feet are at constant risk of injury on unpaved paths or streets covered in broken bottles and rocks.
Sharon from Uganda explains, “On the road, you can hurt your leg, and it will stop you from coming to school.”
2. Shoes keep children well. On dirty streets, wounds on children’s bare feet can easily become infected. And in places where good medical care is hard to find, and harder to afford, infections can quickly become life-threatening.
3. Shoes protect children from bad weather. Right now, it’s the rainy season in Malawi. Shoes protect a child’s feet from the cold and bad weather (and yes, it can get cold in Africa!). For just $12, you can give a child a good pair of shoes to protect her feet from mud and dirty water.
4. Shoes protect children from parasites. If you’ve ever been on a Venture trip, you’ve probably been warned against going barefoot because of the parasites that live in the soil. These cause serious health problems, and even a simple pair of flip-flops creates a barrier between vulnerable children and these dangerous parasites.
5. Shoes help children get an education. Affording school fees is difficult for the children we serve. In addition to this, many schools require students to wear shoes.
This is often the case in Malawi, where Clement is from. But Clement’s family couldn’t afford shoes. “It was very shameful for me being chased out of class because my family couldn’t manage to buy me shoes,” he says.
6. Growing children need shoes that fit. If you have children, you know how quickly they can grow. And how quickly they outgrow their shoes. When the children we serve get shoes, they treasure them, sometimes wearing them long after they stop fitting.
Antoni from the Dominican Republic walked to school and back with the back half of one of his sandals missing. “My broken sandal was not comfortable,” Antoni says. Poorly fitting shoes can hurt children's feet or cause them to trip and injure themselves. You can give children like Antoni new shoes that fit.
7. Shoes help children feel loved. Children are often embarrassed by their lack of shoes. Having to go barefoot, even in areas where material possessions are few, can be an obvious marker of poverty.
Mamie from Sierra Leone explains how much a simple pair of sandals means: “Although sandals are at our local market for sale, yet I was never lucky [enough] to have one. And asking a boy to buy me a pair of sandals is like looking for my own trouble. He is going to demand for something from me which I am not ready to give in return.”
A pair of shoes tells a child like Mamie, “Someone cares about you; you matter.”
Just $12 can provide a life-changing pair of shoes. “When you see a person wearing a nice pair of shoes, that is dignity,” says Dave Schertzer, COTN’s chief resource officer. “It’s such a basic item.”
Your gift will keep a child safe, healthy, and in school.
Thank you for celebrating #GivingShoesDay (aka #GivingTuesday) by showing a child that you care!