In 2007 while living in Nairobi, Kenya and working with 140 children orphaned by Aids/HIV, Kenton Lee noticed that not only were children cutting the toes off their shoes to make them fit, many children did not have any shoes at all.
Although the children would still smile and laugh, innocently not knowing any different, Lee knew that these children deserved more than this. Although the orphanage director advised Lee that they did receive shoe donations from the U.S., it was clear that this was not effective or sustainable as they would only fit for six months before they became too small.
It was at this stage that Lee thought, “Why are we donating things that don’t make sense for these kids? Why are we still doing the same old thing if it doesn’t work as well as it needs to? Can’t we do this a better way?”
Lee made the decision to do something about it, so he founded an organisation called Because International, so that the team could work together with those that are living in extreme poverty, and listen to what they say and then help to turn their dreams into a reality.
It wasn’t long before Lee came up with the concept of a shoe that was adjustable, so that it would last for approximately 10 years. The idea turned into setting up a revolutionary product called The Shoe That Grows. This has led to the creation of two adjustable shoes, one size small and one size large. The first will adjust to fit from pre-school to approximately grade four/five and the second fits from grade four/five to approximately grade nine, so just two pairs will last throughout complete school years.
Ensuring children have a pair of shoes is not only an issue for comfort, it is also a health issue too. Throughout the world over two billion people suffer from soil-transmitted parasites and diseases, so these shoes that grow will protect the children’s feet in more ways than one. The new design also offers better protection than a regular pair of shoes due to their innovative design and concept.
The shoe is also designed to easily compress which makes shipping overseas very cheap, as 50 pairs of shoes will fit in one suitcase on an airplane.
The organisation has set up a funding campaign and are just ready to process their largest order for 5,000 pairs of shoes which will be delivered by missionary and church groups this summer. To donate one pair of shoes costs only $10 and the organisation has set up a very simple process so that it only takes a moment to place an order to add a pair of shoes to a duffle bag, which will be sent out around the world to children in need.
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Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Video Still
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