Drive down any road in Rwanda and you’ll find children walking — some for miles to the nearest water pump, some carrying tinder for their mother’s cooking fires and others on a journey by foot to school.
Most children walk in dust covered plastic sandals which in most cases, are the only shoes they’ll come to own during their growing years.
On November 10th and 11th, PIH staff distributed new TOMS Shoes to thousands of school children in Rwanda’s southern Kayonza and Kirehe Districts. “We are so happy that TOMS Shoes are supporting school children here in Rwanda because we think they make up the next generation of leaders,” said TOMS Shoes Senior Giving Accountant Manager, Jenise Steverding who joined PIH staff for the distribution.
PIH began its two-day shoe distribution at a rural school which serves nearly 1,000 children from grades one through six. Before the shoes were distributed, the children gathered for a ceremony with the Mayor of Kyonza who used the opportunity to remind the eager children to practice good hygiene, stay in school and to hold tight to their brand new shoes.
TOMS Shoes, based in California, was founded on a One for One model. The company gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes they sell . PIH has partnered with TOMS to ensure healthy, well protected feet for children in Haiti and Malawi. This was the first shoe distribution in Rwanda PIH has done.
“Our goal isn’t simply to give shoes one time, but to continue to provide shoes to PIH for these children as they grow, so together we can truly have an impact on the health and well-being of this community,” said Steverding.
Children in Malawi also received new TOMS Shoes. Learn more.