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Employees at ADRA International's headquarters are going without shoes today, April 29, to mark TOMS One Day Without Shoes. [photo: San Suvankham]
April 29, 2014 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | ADRA/ANN staff
In honor of TOMS One Day Without Shoes global event, ADRA International is asking friends and supporters to go shoeless today.
The day, created by ADRA partner TOMS Shoes, is meant to raise awareness for children’s health and education. Last year, people in 50 countries participated in One Day Without Shoes.
“One Day Without Shoes is a great opportunity for ADRA to help raise awareness about the people we serve around the world,” said Jonathan Duffy, President of ADRA International. “Many of the kids we help don’t have access to this simple, but crucial piece of clothing.”
ADRA received its first shipment of TOMS Shoes in Gambia in 2012. Since then, TOMS has given brand new shoes to ADRA beneficiaries in Argentina, Madagascar, Rwanda, Albania, Togo, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Gambia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine and Zambia.
“I didn’t have any shoes before,” said ADRA beneficiary Rova who lives in Madagascar. “When the teacher told us we would receive new pairs of shoes from TOMS through ADRA I didn’t really believe it. My friends and I were very happy because it was the first time most of us received new shoes. We danced in the rain. It was indeed a great day for me.”
A pair of shoes can help prevent diseases like podoconiosis, a debilitating illness that causes the painful swelling of feet and legs. This disease affects more than 4 million people in approximately 15 countries, according to the World Health Organization. Shoes also help prevent cuts, scrapes, and infections that could be deadly, but millions of children do not own a pair.
“Children who are healthy are more likely to be at school,” said David Holdsworth, ADRA International Associate Director for Material Acquisitions. “Giving kids uniforms and shoes can increase their attendance at school by 62 percent. Getting an education really empowers families to rise out of poverty.”
ADRA International is present in 125 countries, providing community development and emergency management.