Voluntourism with TOMS Shoes – Background

I was privileged to organize and participate in the recent TOMS Shoes voluntourism shoe drop trip in South Africa.

For those who you unfamiliar with TOMS Shoes (www.tomsshoes.com), they are a remarkable group of people who together form this funky shoe company, whose philosophy is if you buy one of their pairs of shoes, they will give a pair to a child in need.

Why shoes, you may ask.

From the TOMS Shoes website:

Most children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or just getting around, these children are at risk.

Walking is often the primary mode of transportation in developing countries. Children can walk for miles to get food, water, shelter and medical help. Wearing shoes literally enables them to walk distances that aren’t possible barefoot.

Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.

Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.

There is one simple solution…SHOES.

Of the planet’s six billion people, four billion live in conditions inconceivable to many. Lets take a step towards a better tomorrow.”

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