Placidia holds a new pair of shoes in her hands. Her shy smile has grown, and today the 6-year-old is practically beaming as she clutches the simple, black canvas slip-ons. These are the first shoes she has ever called her own.
Placidia is the youngest of seven daughters. Her mother is a widow in one of the oldest and poorest areas in the Kigali region of Rwanda. Everything Placidia owns has likely been passed down through her sisters, and she treasures this new gift she has received.
“I am very, very happy to receive my first real shoes!” she told us. “I will wash them with water.”
Partnering with TOMS and their One for One program, ADRA distributed more than 84,000 pairs of the brand’s shoes throughout Rwanda in 2013.
Children who don’t have proper shoes miss out on a lot in life and even risk their health. If children have to walk far to get to school, not having shoes to make the journey means they miss out on getting an education. When children play outside with ill-fitting or broken shoes, they risk injury, and when they play with no shoes at all, they risk getting tetanus, hookworm, or even worse illnesses.
ADRA is a partner with TOMS as part of their One for One program. Every time someone buys a pair of the brand’s iconic shoes, the company donates a pair for someone in need. ADRA gets to deliver those shoes and put them in the hands of excited children like Placidia.
“I’m proud to be wearing real shoes,” she said. “My favorite thing is playing in break time and jumping rope with shoes.”
ADRA delivered shoes to more than 84,000 people in Rwanda this past year alone. The One for One program is worldwide, meaning ADRA delivers shoes everywhere, from Madagascar to Kyrgyzstan.