Thursday is TOMS shoes 3rd annual "One Day Without Shoes" event. If you don't already know, TOMS shoes is a shoes company that is more than a shoe company. I mean how many shoe companies do you know whose founding principle is "With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One." Yes, you read that right. They give away a pair of shoes for free to someone in need for every pair purchased. As of April 2010, they have given away over 600,000 pairs! Not like most business models taught in MBA programs today, I am sure. A creative opportunity for those with buying power to help those without.
Anyway, Thursday April 8th is their annual campaign, not to advertise their company (although it does do that too), but to raise awareness to folks like you and me who have never known an involuntary day without shoes and who have more shoes than most people of the world have personal property, what it is like to live without shoes. They are asking people to go barefoot for day (or an hour or ten minutes, whatever your life allows). Ever walk on a gravel or dirt road in your bare feet? Not so comfortable. Go grocery shopping? Take out the trash? Go to school?
Some shoe facts to consider:
Fact #1: In some developing nations, many children must walk for miles to school, clean water, and to seek medical help
Fact #2: Cuts and sores on feet can lead to infection
Fact #3: Often, children cannot attend school barefoot
Fact #4: In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil
Fact #5: Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes
Thursday, I will be going virtually barefoot as well as actually for parts of the day. What about you? Most of the world do not have the luxuries we take for granted everyday. Might be good for the soul to walk a mile an another man's...well, feet I guess.
Check out their website. Take off your shoes. Feel the earth. Connect to the life of someone you do not know. Buy a pair of shoes and give a hand up.