It’s amazing what one pair of new shoes can do in the life of an indigent child. Many indigent children have different sad stories of how a torn or old shoe has made their life so difficult, from being laughed at to being beaten for wearing bad shoes. Though shoes alone do not solve the problems these children face, it helps them build their self-esteem and give hope and a sense of worth.

In many areas of the world, sanitation is poor and disease is widespread. Going without shoes in areas without proper disposal methods for animal and human waste makes people susceptible to parasitic worms and other foot infections. These diseases can be debilitating or even lethal. In a practical sense, we need shoes to keep our feet healthy.

The Humanitarian Volunteer Network (HVN) is a global network of Christian social and development experts, practitioners, and students committed to delivering psychosocial solutions to indigent children and families in nations in crisis and deprived communities around the world. These experts aim to achieve the goal of the InnerCity Mission for Children to reach indigent children and families globally. The InnerCity Mission operates under the auspices of Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI), founded by Chris Oyakhilome himself.

New shoes represent so much more for indigent children

Shoes are very expensive for families in poverty, when having to pay for necessities like food and housing, buying new shoes is not a priority or even an option.

Since children grow out of their shoes so frequently, it also makes it very difficult for families to keep up with the expense.

Many indigent children wear shoes that do not fit, are not appropriate for the current weather or are worn down so much they have holes or detached soles.

A solid, well-fitting pair of shoes allows children to feel a sense of belonging among their peers and worry less about the way they look, which in turn empowers them to focus on school and get outside to play and learn, with dignity and confidence.

In the realm of humanitarian aid, shoes are often an overlooked necessity. Of course, people need food, water, clothes, and medicine, but shoes aren’t always top of mind as essential. New shoes are the first step out of poverty for vulnerable children and families, as shoes are often the most difficult item to get in materially poor communities.

“We can make clothes; we can grow food; water filters can produce clean water over the course of decades before they give out. It’s quite difficult though to make a pair of durable shoes. And for many children around the world, a pair of shoes can be the difference between a hopeful future or a bleak one.” – Spokesman for Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls

Shoes are a key to education

In addition to our health needs, shoes are a key to education. Even in the poorest countries, children are often required to have a pair of shoes to attend classes.

It’s common wisdom that education is a key factor in long-term poverty alleviation – Nelson Mandela famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” How tragic that bright, eager children would be kept from their best chance at changing their circumstances through lack of a pair of shoes.”

A pair of new shoes can be very meaningful to a child who is often the recipient of used clothing and hand-me-downs, by providing that pair of shoes, we offer them the practical support of disease prevention and access to education, as well as an invaluable sense of their own importance and abilities.

In so many ways, a pair of shoes is a simple thing. It’s a simple answer to avoiding a health crisis, an opportunity to go to school, and tangible proof of a child’s infinite worth. It’s so easy today to be overwhelmed by all of the need that exists around us, but we can start by providing one pair of shoes to one child at a time, and through that action, we can help to change the world.

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