We’re all enjoying the lazy days of summer. It’s always a great time of year. But, as you’re walking around in your sandals and flip-flops, did you ever realize that your shoes can actually save a life?
Around the world, over 300 million people–many children–are simply too poor to own a pair of shoes. Think about that. Imagine being so impoverished that a family can’t afford to place a pair of shoes on the feet of their child.
In the United States alone, more than $50 billion is spent on shoes annually by American families. While we drive to work, school and soccer practice, most of the poor in developing nations use their feet as the primary mode of transportation.
Approximately 3 billion people around the world live on less than $2 a day. This is considered extreme poverty by international standards. Families existing in this level of poverty barely have enough to eat or a roof over their heads. To them, shoes are a luxury.
Think a little further. What is the life of the child whose family is so poor they cannot afford a pair of shoes? In the life of a growing child, depending on the age, he or she will outgrow 4 to 7 pairs of shoes in a given year.
There is No School
When a child’s family can’t afford a pair of shoes, that child more than likely is unable to attend school. In developing nations, the standard is for children to wear a uniform. This includes shoes to prevent the spread of disease. A child who is too poor to have his or her family afford a pair of shoes simply cannot attend school.
This means that in a child’s early years, his or her future is already being determined. More than likely, because they are not able to get an education–forget about a quality education–they stand to become a statistic of poverty. Many will grow up in poverty only to live at a subsistence level for the rest of their lives.
Parasites and Disease
Hundreds of millions of people have parasites that could be prevented simply with the use of footwear. That’s it. Literally hundreds of millions or people can be saved disease and death if they only had a pair of shoes.
Hookworm and parasites are a major risk to people who do not wear shoes. When people do not have shoes and walk on terrain that is a host to parasites, they can get infected. Unfortunately, due to poverty many who find themselves infected with parasites do not have the financial means to receive the proper medical treatment. Therefore, parasites have been known to cause disease, amputations, and even death.
The Solution for Saving a Child’s Life
I’ve been in the shoe business for decades. And, I’ve been a philanthropist since the Indian Ocean tsunami. I’m saying this because I’ve visited developing countries and have seen for myself what the lack of shoes can do to someone’s life. I’ve also seen and created a social enterprise that aims to provide families in developing nations with an economic lifeline.
What’s the solution for saving a child or anyone, for that matter, from the risk of not owning a pair of shoes?
It’s very simple. Donate your shoes to a shoe drive. When you donate your gently worn, used and new shoes, you are literally providing someone with a life-saving gift. Depending on the shoe drive partner your school, nonprofit, civic group or athletic team chooses, the shoes you no longer need can be shipped to developing nations around the world.
These shoes are upcycled. That is, they’re given another purpose. So, instead of ending up in a landfill, which is harmful to the environment and life on our planet, the shoes you donate to a shoe drive are given another life. The life of the child you will save, or the parent, you may never know or meet. But be certain, when you donate to a shoe drive, you can be saving a life.
If you want more information about how your nonprofit, school or group can do a shoe drive fundraiser, check out Funds2Orgs. Funds2Orgs is a for-profit social enterprise that works with organizations in doing unique fundraisers and working with micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations with a hand-up.
Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: How to DOMINATE YOUR Fundraising to Create YOUR Success” (Free Digital Download)
© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.