You know what they say: “If the shoe fits, wear it.” Unfortunately, for many people living in extreme poverty, this expression is not applicable because they do not own shoes. Some people have never known the luxury of having protective footwear.
According to the organization Cherished Feet, “More than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population are infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections worldwide.” Parasites can enter through bare feet and infect many people that are forced to walk miles for work or food in impoverished communities.
Fortunately, one man has done his part to combat the issue of diseases among barefoot, deprived people. According to a Facebook post that went viral on March 23rd, Kris Carroll was visiting the Philippines when he noticed Warren, a young, barefoot Sampaguita (jasmine flower) vendor. Seeing the shoeless, impoverished boy provoked Carroll to purchase shoes for the 14-year-old.
Carroll led Warren to a nearby Nike store, where a worker at the store measured Warren’s feet. Carroll allowed Warren to pick out a pair of shoes that he liked and proceeded to buy him a new pair of $60 sneakers. Ahyan Yerro, the man who posted the viral Facebook photos, reminded Warren how fortunate he was to have the opportunity of possessing some new shoes.
Warren seemed to be very grateful for this opportunity. To repay Carroll for the kindness, Warren gave all the Sampaguitas he was selling for the day to the man who provided him with his first pair of shoes.
But Carroll’s kind act of humanity did not stop there. He also asked a Nike worker where he could purchase some clothing for Warren. Just after the young boy stumbled around a bit, getting used to wearing shoes for the first time, Carroll led him to a department store for some new clothes. He also purchased a meal from McDonald’s for Warren.
The lack of proper footwear for impoverished people contributes to a major global issue. Singer and philanthropist Shakira has been known to speak on the issue of barefoot people in impoverished communities. She has founded the Pies Descalzos (Barefoot) Foundation, which focuses on providing widespread education for children in poor communities.
Through her foundation, Shakira donated over 10,000 pairs of shoes to less fortunate children in her native country of Colombia, according to the Los Angeles Times. The efforts of both Shakira and Carroll have made important impacts on destitute, barefoot communities. Although these two role models have helped contribute to finding a solution to the issue, there is much more to be done in order to put a pair of shoes on every person.
Anyone can contribute to the solution like Shakira and Carroll by providing monetary donations, or even shoe donations to organizations like Cherished Feet as long as the shoes are in good condition.
A person does not need a glass slipper for a happily ever after, after all. All a person really needs is faith in humanity.
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