Shoes Save Lives

Reprinted with permission from Toms Shoes:

By: Kim Koporc, Director, Children Without Worms (CWW)

It seems silly but when you think about it, people spend a lot of time deciding what shoes to wear. But for the millions of children living in the developing world, having access to just one pair of shoes can be life changing. Today people across the United States are participating in TOMS Shoes’ One Day Without Shoes – to raise awareness about the number of kids that do not have shoes and the challenges they face.

Not having shoes can be the difference between being sick and well.  Shoes are the buffer between one’s skin and the ground.  The ground is often dirty and can contain fecal matter in communities that lack access to proper sanitation. Shoes keep children free of infections.

Hookworm, one of the three types of STHs, spreads when larvae penetrate the skin – often through bare feet because their families lack the resources to buy shoes.

Johnson & Johnson to treat kids infected with intestinal worms.  Part of our work is also to educate children about hygiene and sanitation to help prevent STH infections.  A child infected with worms does not have the energy they need to learn grow and learn.  Children infected with hookworm have shown a 23 percent drop in school attendance.

As people across the country participate in a One Day Without Shoes, it is important to remember the devastating effects that worms and other waterborne illnesses can have on a child. We know that access to clean water, sanitation, hygiene and deworming medication will prevent the cycle of infection in children. A humble pair of shoes adds an extra layer of protection.

Kim Koporc offers over 15 years experience in international health and development in her role as Director of the Children Without Worms Program. She received her Master of Public Health from Tulane University, and her Master of Business Administration from Emory University. As Director of Children Without Worms, she is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the program and liaising with recipients and program partners.

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