To speak to our mission, our initial project, Shoes for Africa, has focused on collecting new and gently-used shoes, and distributing them to those in need. We have we shipped over 15,000 pairs of shoes to Senegal, West Africa.
The shoes are shipped via ocean cargo. Once they arrive, they're retrieved from customs and warehoused in Peking, a district in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, until the time for distribution.
Our coordinator in Senegal then supervises the loading of the shoes into vans. Each van is routed to its destination (some locations are remote and accessed only by boat) where the shoes are given out to individuals in need.)
Since shoes are an item of comfort, even fashion, for most of the people you know, you might ask, "Why shoes? Aren't there higher-priority needs in Africa?"
Shoes Aid in Preventing Debilitating Diseases
Because wearing shoes helps prevent the spread of parasitic diseases that plague an estimated billion people worldwide, they are a basic human necessity. And the reality of life for many individuals in impoverished parts of Africa, Asia, and South America is that shoes are a rarity. It is not uncommon for children to grow up in these areas without ever having had a pair of new shoes - or any shoes at all.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are many hazards associated with going barefoot in contaminated sand, soil and dirty water, but the most obvious public health problem is hookworm disease.
Shoes also help prevent strongyloidiasis, podoconiosis and nonfililal elephanticisis. In many developing countries where stagnant water is a problem, these diseases are almost a condition of life. Parasites breed in such water, with females releasing 3,000 to 200,000 eggs per day depending on their type. Children sometimes swim in parasite-infested waters, and in the absence of suitable drinking water, people may be forced to drink it and use it for cooking purposes. Amongst the poorest of the poor, treatment for parasitic infections becomes a vicious cycle.
Once parasites enter the body, they often perforate the intestines, circulatory system, lungs, liver and other organs, and cause physical trauma. They can lump together in balls, and travel into and erode or block the brain, heart and lungs. On occasion, these lumps have been mistaken for cancerous tumors. Parasites also give off metabolic waste products that poison our bodies. Left untreated, the infections they cause can result in the loss of limbs, chronic illness and even death.
Parasitic infections often prevent adults from being able to work and children from being able to attend school. The relationships between illness, access to education, and poverty have been well-documented by organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Although most parasitic diseases are easily preventable, in the last 20 years or so, the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria has captured public attention and resources resulting in their being overlooked, which is why they have earned the name "diseases of neglect." Through the efforts of Shoes for Africa, YES, Inc., envisions increased awareness about these conditions, and is working to serve as a bridge between global and grassroots organizations seeking to eradicate them and alleviate poverty in Africa. (Read and listen to an article on parasitic diseases on Morning Edition on National Public Radio (NPR).
The relationships between illness and poverty and illness to access to education have been well documented by organizations such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Shoes for Africa works toward disease prevention in an effort to promote education and alleviate poverty in Senegal, Africa.
View some statistical information about Senegal, Africa
10 Steps to Coordinating a Successful 'Gently Worn' or New Shoe Drive
- Contact Shoes for Africa at 404-438-1991. A Shoes for Africa representative will communicate with you via phone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to cover shoe drive details.
- Secure a date to begin. Most shoe drives last around four weeks.
- Secure your drop-off locations at your place of worship, school, office or other facility. Secure a location to process the shoes (warehouse, gym, community building, etc.).
Shoes for Africa can provide sample promotional materials such as posters, flyers for you to help promote your shoe drive.
- Suggest a $1.00 or $2.00 donation per pair to offset shipping cost.
- Feel free to use your local TV, radio, and newspaper to publicize the shoe drive.
- Process the collected shoes by placing a rubber band around each pair and place in boxes for shipping.
- Contact us for information on how to ship your shoes to our warehouse.
- We will process the shoes and ship domestically/internationally.
- Publicize your results and express appreciation for everyone's participation.
Donate Cash for Freight
We are ALWAYS in need of cash for sending shipping containers around the world. You can donate online and receive a full tax credit for the donation.
Join Us on a Socio/Economic Trip
We want you to come with us to see how you can make a real difference in the lives of people all over the world. Join us in our close-up and personal tour to Senegal, West Africa. Contact us to receive more information.
Every contribution is important to us whether it is 50 pairs or 50,000 pairs. People across North America are collecting shoes and shipping them to us. We ask that all donors (companies, retailers, individuals, etc.) absorb the shipping cost to our warehouse facility.