For the eighth year, TOMS are kicking off their annual One Day Without Shoes Campaign in order to raise awareness of the number of children living without even a pair of shoes, and highlighting the impact this can have. From May 5th to May 21st TOMS are encouraging users of Instagram to upload a photo of themselves without wearing shoes using the #without shoes tag, and for ever photo that is tagged, they will donate one pair of new shoes to a child in need.
The initiative started as a way to raise awareness for children’s health and education, and in its eighth year, the campaign is evolving and expanding into new territory. The brand was started in 2006 by American traveler Blake Mycoskie after an eye-opening visit to Argentina where he saw the real-world effects of poverty and was inspired to make a change.
Speaking about the campaign, Mycoskie says, “This year’s One Day Without Shoes will be different than any we’ve ever done. We’re extending the timeframe to build awareness and anticipation, but most importantly, so that more people can participate in an effort to give more.
“The best part is that even if someone is not a TOMS customer, he or she can simply take a photo and post #withoutshoes to make sure a child in need somewhere in the world will get a new pair.” Growing up without shoes to protect feet means that children are at greater risk of infection and disease, and also tend to lack access to education.
TOMS have carried out research into the issue and discovered some powerful statistics. Not having shoes can cause Podoconiosis, an extremely painful disease where the feet and legs swell, which affects more than 4 million people in over 15 countries. Providing children with school uniforms – which often include shoes – is also proven to increase school attendance by 62%.
When it comes to eliminating poverty, any aspect that is focused on can bring about substantial positive change, and this initiative is an area that people may not ordinarily think is important. However, all it takes is an Instagram picture to change someone’s life and do some good in the world, so drop the selfies and the pictures of your dinner and do something to help a child living in poverty today.