Sole Hope shoes change lives. It’s a journey that starts with you being stylish, and ends with a person in Uganda living a life free of jiggers. At each step of the process, something good happens. Maybe it’s you pouring out your heart, time, and talent. Maybe it’s a person here in Uganda having the opportunity to work a middle class job as a tailor, shoemaker, educator, or nurse. Maybe it’s a kid that couldn’t walk going back to school and getting an education.
So, let’s take a journey together. It starts in your closet and ends with a dance. It only takes 10 steps, but nobody will be the same by the time we get back.
Step 1. Wear Jeans
The cooler the better
Step 2. Cut Up Your Jeans
Check your cuffs. Are they wearing out? Check your knees. Are they peeking out? We’ve all had to make that decision at one point to another in life. Even the best jeans need to retire eventually. Once those jeans have gone with you to your last meal out together, once you have sat together on a sofa watching one last movie it’s time to have a Shoe Cutting Party.
Order your kit, get out your scissors, and call your friends. This is going to be fun.
Here is the final product! It’s OK to feel a little bit proud. You just sacrificed your favorite jeans and worked hard.
Although there are no firm regulations here, it is recommended that a person stops wearing their jeans after cutting them up. If you need any further reasons, see above.
Step 3. Send them on over!
Your cut out shoe uppers should be sent to our office in North Carolina where they will be collected and shipped to Uganda.
Volunteers in North Carolina pack them up there and send them over here!
Step 4. Tailoring
Those carefully cut uppers get assembled here by Okello and his team of tailors. Each stitch is done with pride. Each tailor earns a living wage and builds a valuable skill set.
Step 5. Shoe Making
Kamagala and his expert team of shoe makers take the stitched uppers and form them around molds, attaching soles made from reused tires. Each shoe upper takes two days and many careful steps to become a fully formed shoe.
Step 6. Foot washing
Our staff and volunteers team up every week and head out into the community visiting school and villages. We wash each and every foot carefully, greeting the patients, learning their names, sharing smiles.
Step 7. Jigger removal
After foot washing, each patient has his or her feet thoroughly checked for jiggers, and each one is gently removed. After the painful and dangerous parasites are removed, children who hobbled and limped through clinic find joy in walking again, playing football, running, and laughing.
Step 8. Shoe fitting
Each patient who is now jigger free receives a pair of shoes that perfectly fit his or her feet. All ten toes fit safely inside, away from the reach of jiggers and other parasites. Along with good hygiene, this pair of shoes can drastically change a child’s present and future circumstances.
Step 9. Education
Perhaps the most important step in learning how to live jigger free is education. Each and every patient that receives a pair of sole hope shoes is individually taught about jiggers. They learn where they come from, how they should be treated, and how to live life jigger free. Our full time educators are working to change social stigma and teach life skills and ideas that will change Uganda’s future, two feet at a time.
Each patient goes home with educational materials that describe both in pictures and in writing how to safely stay jigger free.
Step 10. Being Awesome
Life looks different with clean, jigger free feet and a fresh pair of shoes. Students that had been unable to go to school re-enroll in classes. Parents that couldn’t walk can begin to take care of their families again.
An old pair of jeans, $10 and an evening with friends can put something into motion. It can bring jobs to talented people in an impoverished nation. It can bring hope to children in hopeless situations. It can bring people from all across the world together, and leave us each a little better for the encounter. Thank you for everything you do.