Taking Off Our Shoes for a Good Cause
This April 16, many
ChildFund employees will spend our workday without shoes to call attention to
One Day Without Shoes,
an event started by TOMS Shoes six years ago, creates awareness for children's
health and education and the role shoes can play in helping create opportunities
for a better future.
Without shoes, children
run the risk of cuts, disease and infections (which can lead to compromised
health later on), and many can't attend school if they don't have shoes and
A ChildFund study in
2010 estimated that 15 percent of school-age children in developing countries
have hookworm or another parasitic disease due to going barefoot. Studies show
that children affected by hookworm are 20 percent less likely to go to school
and earn 40 percent less in adult life.
In Liberia, which
emerged from civil war a decade ago, school enrollment has been low for primary
school-age children, in part because they often lack shoes. In January 2012,
ChildFund worked with TOMS to coordinate delivery of hundreds of pairs to
children in three Liberian communities.
One student, 10-year-old
Kulubah, says, "Now I will use my new TOMS Shoes to go to school, and the
teacher will not send me home. My friends will not laugh at me again." Since
those first deliveries in Liberia, children in our Angola, Sierra Leone and
Zambia programs have received TOMS as well.
"One Day Without Shoes
started with a small group of students on a college campus six years ago," says
Sebastian Fries, chief giving officer at TOMS. "We are humbled by the tremendous
support we’ve seen across the globe and the awareness it has generated for the
need for shoes and the impact they can have when given by organizations like
ChildFund. We are grateful to make a contribution to children like Kulubah so
they can stay in school."
In developed countries,
"we have so many options of what kind of shoes to wear," says Sadye-Ann Henry, a
ChildFund treasury assistant who participated in the event last year and plans
to go barefoot this year. One activity that involved walking on rocks showed
Sadye-Ann "how tender our tootsies are" and gave her a glimpse of the challenges
that children without shoes face every day.
Anyone can participate
in One Day
Without Shoes. Just kick off your shoes and join us in making our friends
and neighbors aware of an important cause.