Years ago, I was able to visit Kenya to serve African students for a week. Teaching pronouns to an attentive group, I developed a love for African children. The kids I met were joyful, kind, and funny. Since I’ve been a part of the Family Service Club, I’ve been trying to think of ways to help my kids gain awareness and compassion for children in 3rd world countries, and when a club member suggested this option, I jumped at the chance. This month we are supporting an awesome organization called Sole Hope that helps children in Africa by providing them with closed-toed shoes to protect their feet as well as teaching them to make shoes themselves. There are many ways for children and adults of all ages to get involved.
Want to do something like this in your area?
2. Invite friends over: ask them to bring any kids who are old enough to cut as well as some blue jeans. Sole Hope will provide you with a shoe-cutting kit that explains how to trace and cut your jeans so they can be made into shoes. Get to work! When you finish, send your cut-outs as well as $10 for each pair of shoes for shipping and assembly. Sole Hope will finish the process, and these shoes will help kids in Uganda from getting jiggers on their feet. If your friends can’t come, you can also mail or give them the pattern to cut out jeans at home.
3. Getting the littles involved: If you or your friends have younger kids, there are other ways they can get involved. My kids and I are going to have a lemonade stand to raise money to donate for shipping and assembly of shoes. We are also going to bake cookies for the volunteers meeting at the shoe party. My kids can’t cut well yet, but they can still help out!
4. Other options: If you are short on time or blue jeans, you can also donate to the organization itself. They accept money, as well as Foot Washing and Jigger Removal supplies and other items. Here is their wish list:
- Stickers for the children
- Large Safety Pins
- Surgical Gloves
- Cotton Balls
- Medical Tape
- Antibiotic Cream
- Band Aids
5. Share your Story: If you have a chance to work with your family to bless kids across the world, share your experience. You just might inspire someone else to get involved too.
One thing I love about doing these projects is the opportunity to help my kids grow in awareness of the world. While I hope to travel on service trips with them eventually, right now, books are a great way to help them learn more about the world. Here are two books that I recommend:
1. A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu. This book is a beautiful way to help kids learn more about Africa and the people there.
2. We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs. This rhyming story is a fun way to talk about African names, animals, and climates.
This is video shows a glimpse of what Sole Hope is doing in Africa and how the children respond. This is a great one to watch if you are thinking about hosting a shoe party.
To be honest, it is hard for me to think about the things that children in 3rd world countries are dealing with on a daily basis. I also have a hard time knowing how to help with young kids of my own at home. I can’t wait to participate in our upcoming party in a couple weeks, and I hope this will be the beginning of many more projects like this in the future. Do you know of any helpful organizations serving kids in impoverished countries? Do you have strategies that help your kids to be empathetic to situations and people far away? If so, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own. You can also follow us on Instagram for daily ideas on sharing kindness. Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.