One Day Without Shoes 2012

For many of us, going barefooted is a “fun option,” a way to be carefree and enjoy the feel of grass underneath our feet or sand between our toes.

Shoes, on the other hand (foot?), are ways to protect our feet and enjoy expressing style and personality.

My family and I have all the shoes we need, and even some we want. Many children worldwide as not so fortunate.

One Day Without Shoes, coordinated by Toms, is “the day we spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life by taking off our own. Why? Millions of children live without proper footwear, exposing them to injury and disease every day.”

Among the problems faced by children who don’t have adequate protection on their feet:

Podoconiosis: 4,000,000 people have this debilitating and disfiguring soil-based disease. (Source: Source: G. Davey / Estimate as of 2011)

Dangerous Debris: For example, 30,000 people live on one landfill in the Philippines, where many are without shoes and are exposed to broken glass, syringes and debris. (Source: Asian Development Bank)

Jiggers: For example, 1,890,000 Kenyan children are infected by jiggers, burrowing fleas that cause painful infection. (Source: Ahadi Kenyan Trust)

Hookworm:  740,000,000 people are affected by hookworm which can cause intestinal pain, weakness and cognitive impairment. (Source: World Health Organization)

Lack of Access to Education: In some countries, children are not allowed to attend school unless they have shoes.

If you are interested in spreading awareness, you can:

Tweet this: Millions of children in the world grow up without shoes. Join @TOMS this April for One Day #withoutshoes http://shar.es/r26z3

Join the Facebook page here.

Get some tools for spreading the word here.

Me? I am going to go without shoes for as much of the day as I can.

For the times I can’t, I will do my part to personalize the faces (and feet!) of children around the world who face challenges because their ability to get shoes is overshadowed by the magnitude of the other things they lack.

One Day Without Shoes is an awareness-raising day. As a for profit corporation (with a social mission to give a new pair of shoes to a child in need every time someone purchases a pair of Toms), Toms is prohibited from accepting monetary donations. They encourage people who want to make a donation to give to one of their partner organizations.