Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Simple Way to Help Children in Africa

**Update! As of Nov 27th Ilyse has gathered more than 100 pairs of shoes! Stay tuned for info on a meeting place we might set up for a final drop of where you can still donate. Thanks!! **

A mom from our playgroup, Ilyse Collett, was moved by the message a friend of her cousin's sent following a recent trip to Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate is 231 million percent and children live without the most basic needs like shoes.

As she wrote: "Throughout the many countries and schools that we visited, we noticed that the majority of the children do not wear shoes because their families simply cannot afford to buy them. We also learned that the lack of shoes severely impacts children's lives in many ways. Under the hot sun, shoes allow children to walk long distances (sometimes 1 -2 hours) to school while those without shoes must remain at home. Shoes protect their feet from cuts that not only are the source of infectious diseases but more severe health problems such as HIV and Aids. What we take for granted can make the difference between a child benefiting from an education or falling victim to poverty or illness. "

So Ilyse decided to gather new or used children's shoes from ANYONE willing to donate to this cause. As long as they are still in good shape, they will be greatly appreciated. You can email her at and she will send you her Carlsbad address where you can drop the shoes off -- I'm taking some of my boys shoes there this weekend.

THE TIP: The photo below is from a Habitat trip I took to South Africa in 1998 and it was stunning to see how families could survive with so little... the family that I stayed with only had one lighbulb in their tiny house. They unscrewed the bulb from the sitting area to give me light in my room when I needed to get ready for bed.

Look around your home and try to imagine raising your family only being able to afford one lightbulb, or not being able to afford even shoes for your little ones. I hope that you will all help in this simple but important way!


Linda said...

Just want to correct a misleading sentence in this post that might lead some people to believe that one could be infected by HIV merely be walking around barefoot. The sentence "Shoes protect their feet from cuts that not only are the source of infectious diseases but more severe health problems such as HIV and Aids." The first half of the sentence is fine, but I think the majority of health professionals working in HIV/AIDS would substantiate that it would be highly unlikely that a cut on the foot could be the source of HIV infection. What would need to happen, of course, is that there would need to be HIV infected blood (in very late stages of infection or blood of a person with full-blown AIDS) which was exposed to the cut on the child's foot almost immediately after it left the body of the person infected with HIV or AIDS- remember that outside the human body, the virus is quite weak, dying quickly when it's exposed to air. ...Otherwise, I think her idea is wonderful!

I'm sorry that my explanation may not sound terribly scientific, but I feel that it's important to correct things that can be easily misconstrued.

Thanks & I'll be stepping down from my soapbox now!

Take care & have a fabulous weekend!

Linda Morales

Gabriela said...

Thanks for clarifying Linda - you travel to all corners of the world helping children and know the details here so we really appreciate your input :)

Anonymous said...

I can't stop thinking about what you wrote on a family only able to afford one LIGHTBULB

joanna said...

how many shoes have you collected? can we still drop some off?