Shed Your Shoes with Us on April 29

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Children who go barefoot often pick up soil-transmitted infections and parasites that rob their bodies of the nutrients and energy they need to learn and grow. More than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population, are infected worldwide.

Shoes are more than a fashion statement or an effort to appear taller. Shoes keep us healthy. On April 29, 2014, we are going without shoes to help more people understand just how important shoes are to creating a world where no child goes to bed hungry.

Here’s the scoop: without shoes, kids can’t go to school and they can’t avoid water- and soil-borne illnesses. This traps them in a poverty cycle with their families and their communities.

Poverty is complex and can’t be solved any one single way. We all need to work together to help children get and stay healthy, go to school, and find opportunities for a better future. Wearing shoes is an important part of that.

One condition, called podoconiosis, is very debilitating, causing extremely painful swelling of the feet and legs. Podo affects more than 4 million people in at least 15 countries. (Source: WHO, 2013)

Podo can be prevented by wearing shoes and practicing good foot hygiene. Feed the Children gives shoes along with health education to children at risk of podo.

Feed the Children distributes TOMS to children in many of the schools where we work, enabling children to attend school regularly. Providing shoes with uniforms improves school attendance by 62%.

pair of bare feetOver 270 million preschool-age children and over 600 million school-age children live in areas where these parasites are intensively transmitted. They need treatment and preventive interventions.

When we go without shoes on April 29, we will write the name of one of the children in our programs on our feet. We hope people will ask why so we can share how important shoes are for helping children stay healthy, grow strong, and go to school. Shoes really do help create a world where no child goes to bed hungry.

Will you join us? This video shows how.

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