The Huffington Post: GPS for the Sole—Shoes, Stress, and a Child's Future
Arianna Huffington: As our minds are still grappling with the horror of the Boston bombings, and our hearts are still hurting for the victims and their loved ones, there is something we can do today to help the lives of children around the world. Today is the day that, since 2007, has been designated by the shoe company TOMS as "One Day Without Shoes."
One of the most powerful and growing movements in business is the emphasis on giving back, as more and more companies are realizing they can make a difference in people's lives and at the same time improve their bottom line. It's an ethos exemplified by companies like Warby Parker, which donates a pair of eyeglasses to someone in need for every pair sold, and TOMS, which does the same with shoes through its global giving program, "One For One."
That effort, which has donated 2 million pairs of shoes to children in more than 50 countries worldwide, began when TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie -- who also answers to the title Chief Shoe Giver -- traveled to Argentina in 2006. He saw just how many challenges children face when they grow up without shoes, from infections and injury to reduced education opportunities, since many schools require children to wear shoes. So no shoes, no education, no future.
As Amanda Schwartz puts it in her blog post about Partners in Health's partnership with TOMS in Malawi, where many people have to walk five miles just to get to a health clinic: "Walking five miles anywhere is hard for most everyone. Walking five miles when you're sick is unimaginable. Walking five miles when you're sick and when you are a kid is terrifying. Can you imagine what it would be like to do that and to be barefoot?"
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