‘What if you could change the world? Would you?’
Share Your Soles is a charity organisation that was founded by a remarkable lady called Mona Purdy, and began from a journey through Central America that she took in 1999. She recalls how she saw children painting tar on the soles of their bare feet so they could run a race during their village’s festival, due to the unavailability of footwear to them. Mona also met an American orthopaedic surgeon by chance who was in the area, and he told her that if these children had shoes to wear, there would be a lot less need to perform amputations of children’s infected limbs.
After returning home, Mona scouted around neighbourhoods and families asking for donations of any unwanted children’s shoes – she collected and brought these to an orphanage in Honduras. However, as she was about to leave, one of the workers at the orphanage asked ‘When are you coming back?’, and Mona thought to herself ‘I’m not coming back. This was a one-time thing…’ And it was that question that changed her life.
Soon enough, Mona gained immense interest from numerous schools, church groups, scout troops and Civic organisations; and subsequently the shoe drives began to attract much media attention, resulting in generous donations of shoes pouring in. She also managed to enlist the aid of shippers and airlines, government agencies, embassies, small businesses, government officials and major corporations. All the while, Mona ensured that shoes were given in a way that ‘honoured the dignity of those who would receive them’ and were thus sanitised with hot water & bleach and polished, before being shipped out. Any shoes that were too worn, with holes and tears etc. were discarded, as Mona wanted each pair of shoes received to be clean and in good condition.
Since Mona embarked on that journey through America, Share Your Soles has accumulated and sent out hundreds of thousands of pairs of shoes to people in need world-wide. This includes the regions of: Central America, Southeast Asia, The Caribbean, Appalachia, Eastern Europe, American Indian Reservations, India, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Ghana - ‘No boundaries. No borders.’
You can check out their website @ http://shareyoursoles.org/ to read more about the organisation, and to see how you can get involved and make a difference. Unfortunately, there are currently no collections in the UK, but don’t let that stop you – you can still collect a bundle of shoes, and ship them over to America! Yes, it may cost a bit in postage, but you’ll feel really great about doing a good deed, and how about you cut out £20 from your usual ‘more clothes that I really don’t need and have no space for in my wardrobe’ budget? I know you have one, all of us girls do. £20 will be more than enough to cover shipping costs, AND leave you with some spare cash in your purse to do even more great and charitable deeds with! Or, if you’re feeling extremely enthusiastic, you can contact the team to see if you can make an area near you an official drop site for donations – surely worth a try...
‘When you choose to make a difference in an innocent child’s life, you bring love, hope and a sense of belonging into their life – as well as your own’