Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

The smallest of the things can bring some of the biggest changes in this world. The Shoe that Grows proves to be one of the finest examples of it. They make shoes that are adjustable. These shoes can grow 5 sizes and can easily last 5 years. The goal behind the innovation is to provide shoes for children in poor countries who can’t buy shoes and have to go barefoot.

These durable shoes are specially designed for the children who are in need of footwear. A simple pair of shoes is luxury for a large number of children living in poverty who are growing all the time and are unable to buy shoes frequently.

the shoe that grows

According to US-based ‘The Shoe That Grows’, more than 1.5 billion people suffer from soil-transmitted diseases worldwide and most severely affected are the children. Children often miss school due to illnesses that can easily be avoided. Shoes may seem like a small thing but they make a big difference in the health and well-being of a child.

Kenton Lee is the Founder and Executive Director of Because International, a non-profit organization behind the wonder shoes. He was working with barefoot kids in Kenya. Then he came up with “The Shoe That Grows”.

The shoes are highly durable and are built with long-lasting materials. The sole of the shoe is made of rubber similar to the material tires are made of and the adjustable straps are leather. The makers of these shoes were not concern about how the shoes would look as long as they fulfil the tough requirements.

Every pair costs $15. Various organisations are helping by providing funds for the footwear. Even you can donate money for the shoes on The Shoes That Grows website here. The shoes are exported and people who usually travel to these impoverished countries voluntarily take them to give it to people in need in rural villages and organizations.

The expansion is also growing along with the shoes. Till now, 1,75,683 pairs of shoes has been distributed with the help of 1,202 distribution partners. Started with Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Nicaragua, Peru, and Vietnam, they are now distributed in 97 countries.

According to the world bank, 19.5% of children living in developing countries are from households who are  living in extreme poverty. These households live on an average of $ 1.90 per day or less per person. More than one-fifth of children under the age of five in these countries are living in extremely poor households.

the shoe that grows
Image: The Shoe That Grows

In the places where clean water and food are not available in apt quantity, spending on clothes and shoes is a thought not many would ponder on. Shoe making is no extraordinary business, tons of manufacturers are doing it, making a massive amount of money out of it. The only thing that matters is how a small initiative can change lives for better.

When many of us are regularly getting bored of wearing old shoes and constantly adding new shoes to the big collection, some never get to wear more than a few pairs in their whole lifetime. The big difference in the lives of children living in poverty to those with a rich lifestyle is astonishing.

Ending poverty is one of the most important SDGs. In fact, it’s at number one. So lets make it as our top priority too. Next time you think of buying shoes, buy it for the children who need them more than you.




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