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US charity donates shoes that grow with wearer to children in Kenya

A US based charity organization donates some specially designed shoes that expand five sizes and last for years to children in Kibra, Kenya.

The American Charity Organisation known as Because International donated the shoes after partnering with a local non-profit organization tasked with distributing the flexible shoes.

Nevertheless, the charity’s distributor in East Africa, which operates independently of the regional non-profit, told Voice of Africa (VOA) that Kibra was chosen due to the region’s pervasive financial difficulties experienced by school-age children. 

Since many of these children come from low-income families, it can be challenging for them to afford new shoes or replacements as they outgrow their current pairs.

”The Shoe that grows is a type of shoe that adjusts to different levels that give the child a chance to wear it at its smallest size as it adjusts to biggest size,” said Japhet Opondo, Charity’s East African distributor.

Invented by Kenton Lee in 2007 while he was working at an orphanage in Kenya, ‘The Shoe That Grows’ took six years to design.

”One day I saw a little girl, walking on a very dirty road, with shoes so small that they were ripped open, revealing her toes. I then came up with this idea of creating a shoe that can adjust to a child’s feet,” Kenton told the United Nations (UN) in a separate interview.

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Lee utilized a compressed rubber sole and durable synthetic leather straps to create a comfortable footwear solution. 

These adjustable shoes have the capacity to expand up to five sizes, ensuring they can be worn for several years, thus alleviating the financial burden on children and their families by eliminating the need for frequent shoe replacements.

”We have two models: one for children aged four to eight and the other for those aged eight to twelve,” Lee added

Lee’s motivation stems from a genuine desire to protect numerous barefoot children from potential harm, such as injuries, diseases, and accidents like falls.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost 1.5 billion people suffer from soil-transmitted diseases with 20 million being children from Sub-Saharan Africa due to high levels of poverty.

”It is also incredible to see how children become more confident wearing nice shoes,” he said.

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