Traveling to Uganda on what started as a one-time volunteer charity mission, I was particularly moved by the number of children suffering in extreme conditions and so many of them without shoes, preventing them from getting an education. It was during this volunteer trip, that Two Soles was born.
Two Soles’ mission, as a nonprofit organization, is to help give children in Uganda an education and better healthcare by providing mandatory uniform standard shoes to every child who needs them. Our aim is to give them hope that a more promising future awaits them and that they have a place in this world. They won’t just be surviving; they’ll be thriving. Our aim is to show them they are wanted, loved and cared for. An educated child will grow up to be a confident and capable adult whose contributions will be meaningful to their world and ours.
Imagine resources so scarce, that you would wear one shoe.
No, not one pair; just one shoe. That’s what I saw the first time I went to Africa, and that’s what made me obsessed with giving shoes to these kids.
I tried to imagine what it must feel like to be left in an orphanage by the people who are supposed to love me the most.
Or what it must feel like to be denied an education because I don’t have uniform standard shoes.
Or what it must feel like not being able to sleep out of fear of jigger bites leading to incapacitation.
On my second trip to Uganda, I wanted these shoes to protect children from jigger infestation and allow them to attend school.
But most of all, I wanted these shoes to remind kids that people still care about them and they aren’t abandoned and there is still goodness in this world.
It is an American privilege to think you can swoop in on someone and renew their belief in goodness.
In Uganda, there are some of the most needy children in the world, but also the happiest.
With or without shoes, with or without permission to attend school, with or without family, they laugh and play on dirt floors.
Although this story may have been born from empathy, it has been sustained by the symbiotic relationship between the children and donors.
While it is always Two Soles’s aim to remind a child of the goodness in the world, we often find that they remind us of the joy in it.