300 million children around the world can't afford shoes and are going barefoot. This puts them at risk of infection, and even death, from soil-transmitted diseases that enter their bodies through cuts in unprotected feet. Our project 1) teaches Mozambicans to make shoes for their children 2) provides medical care to those with foot disease 3) teaches preventive hygiene and 4) establishes a sustainable industry for economic empowerment These steps will have a positive impact on health outcomes.
Typically in Africa, barefoot children have to walk many miles each day to gather firewood, get water or attend school. They walk on hot ground that burns their feet, over sharp rocks and thorns that create cuts which are pathways for infections and jiggers. Jiggers are parasites that borough into children's feet and are quite painful. These jiggers lay eggs, multiply, and if untreated, can cause nerve damage, which may lead to paralysis, loss of limbs, and even death.
Together with Movement, our strategic partner in Mozambique we'll establish cottage industries run by women for shoemaking. This will create economic empowerment for the women and their communities. The shoes, called KLEMs will be distributed free to Mozambique's barefoot children, giving them a chance for a healthier life and decreasing the number of school days lost to infections caused by jiggers. In many schools shoes are required, so our project will allow more children to attend school.
Heeling Our World educates U.S. students about human rights issues, and empowers them by giving them an avenue for advocacy. They learn about the hardships of the world's barefoot children, and then make KLEM shoes for them. In Africa our project improves the medical well being of children by giving them tens of thousands of free shoes as well as giving them medical attention, and hygiene training. Teaching workers in rural African villages to make KLEMs, gives them a pathway out of poverty
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).