The need for quality items of clothing in rural communities in less fortunate parts of the world is well known and many charities publicise the significant impact that these donations have. But supplies of donations are inconsistent and dependent on others. Before we donate shoes from the UK, for example, we will often wear them heavily to the point at which they are no longer desirable to us. This often means that the soles will be a heavily worn and thinned out, or may have even broken. Often, it is only at this point that we think to pass them on to others.
People living without shoes in some of the poorest communities across the globe are susceptible to diseases and parasites that can be transmitted through soil.
Approximately 2 billion people worldwide become ill because of these diseases, highlighting the necessity of a pair of shoes.
But even high quality donations have a short shelf life as feet quickly grow and render too small shoes unwearable and without any alternative some children have no choice but to continue wearing shoes that damage their feet.
Introducing the shoe that grows…
The idea of The Shoe That Grows came to the founder Kenton Lee whilst he was working in Nairobi and led to the development of a new type of footwear that accommodates growing feet and lasts much, much longer.
Each shoe can grow up to five sizes bigger by adjusting the straps and lasts for at least five years thanks to the durable materials used to construct them. Currently, The Shoe That Grows project have sent thousands of shoes to children in places such as Kenya, Columbia, Vietnam and Laos.
They are also planning to supply their innovative shoes to communities in India, Malawi, Cambodia and Mexico in the future.
Not only are their shoes comfortable, they also help to prevent any further infections transmitted from the ground. The long-lasting nature of the shoes mean that they are both more time and cost efficient than having to source a new pair whenever shoes break or become unwearable.
Often, donated items have already been worn and so have far less wear left in them than the shoes offered by The Shoe That Grows. – put in photo caption?
The design is also far more environmentally friendly as it reduces waste products both from the manufacturing process and discarded shoes.
It’s easy to overlook the difference that a comfortable pair of shoes makes, but the results of The Shoe That Grows project are far reaching – children can be protected from pain, discomfort and soil-transmitted diseases. Instead, they can spend time attending school, ensuring that they gain an education which in turn empowers local children to achieve careers that benefit themselves and their communities.