Why are shoes so important?

Saving Soles is committing to spread our initiatives to multiple parts of the world but we will focus on the least developed areas. Least developed countries import 0.2% of the footwear around the world. The reality of life for many individuals in impoverished parts of Africa, Asia, and South America is that shoes are a rarity. All too often children grow up with only one or two pair of shoes or none at all!

The absence of footwear in these countries is a major concern as the presence of soil transmitted infections is very evident. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are many hazards associated with going barefoot in contaminated sand, soil and dirty water.

01. Hookworm Disease

are many different species of hookworms, some are human parasites and some are animal parasites. People can be infected by larvae of animal hookworms, usually dog and cat hookworms. The most common result of animal hookworm infection is a skin condition called cutaneous larva migrans. READ MORE

02. Podoconiosis

Podoconiosis, also known as nonfilarial elephantiasis, is a disease of the lymph vessels of the lower extremities that is caused by chronic exposure to irritant soils. Children sometimes swim in parasite-infested waters, and in the absence of suitable drinking water, people may be forced to drink it and use it for cooking purposes. These parasites can release 3,000 to 200,000 eggs per day in this same water. READ MORE

03. Diseases of Neglect

Parasitic infections often prevent adults from being able to work and children from being able to attend school. The relationships between illness, access to education, and poverty have been well-documented by organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

04. Environmental Concern

Saving Soles also wants to do its part in cleaning up our environment. Being able to reduce the presence old shoes in landfills will assist the health of the environment. It is estimated 300 million of the 20 billion shoes produced every year are thrown in landfills. READ MORE

05. Other Frightening Stats

A recent fact from the World Bank indicates that only 24% of the rural population of Sub-Saharan Africa have access to improved sanitation, compared to 42% of the urban population. Even in cities, less than half of the population have toilet facilities that provide safe hygiene options. In rural villages there are usually one or two public village toilets with no sewage system whatsoever. Wearing shoes instead of walking barefoot offers protection and safety by reducing the risk of exposure to parasites like hookworm, pathogens, and hazardous substances that affect public health.