Alexandra Verney

2019

Without shoes, many children are not allowed to attend school

"Five months ago Alexandra discovered a small charity, Sal’s Shoes, https://www.salsshoes.com/ which works to redistribute outgrown though not outworn shoes to children from families who cannot afford to buy their own. There are over 300 million children in the world for whom walking in shoes is a rarity which makes them vulnerable to infection by parasites and injuries that are almost always left untreated. Without shoes, many children are not permitted to attend school. We set a target to gather 1000 pairs of shoes for Sal’s Shoes and, as delivery costs £1 per pair, a target to raise £1000 was also set. Working with Sonja, Satyam, Dagny, Richard, Anna and Alison, as well as local parent networks, schools, play groups, and many others, last week we were delighted to have gathered a total of 1805 pairs of shoes alongside over £2,100.00. The first batch of shoes will be delivered to the Ukraine at the end of this month in time for winter, and the rest will follow across 43 countries worldwide. We also wanted to deliver a personal TOY message to each child gifted a pair of these shoes so, knowing they too would one day grow out of them, we folded a letter from the TOY family into 1000 pairs and also attached a keyring we made that included TOY baby footprints - thank you to everyone who sent them to us! Our project culminated in a morning of kids craft activities supported by Buckinghamshire Family Centres while we collated all of our shoes into 70 large bags with the help of Sal’s Shoes founder, CJ, and her two children, Sal and Clemie. Special mention must be made concerning one particular pair of shoes in our collection. CJ, now the wearer of her own TOY Cap, will personally take Yves’ first pair of shoes with her on her next Sal’s Shoes visit to Africa in the New Year and promises to send us a photo of the child who will give these shoes another chance to splash in puddles and kick up leaves. The generosity and kindness we have seen from so many throughout this project has been truly humbling and rewarding and we are honoured to share it with the TOY family."