One for one.
by Tracy Ann Koch
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and founded they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.
Why shoes? Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk: (1) A leading cause of disease in developing countries is coil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause. (2) Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and shores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. (3) Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.
World Sight Day is an international day dedicated to bringing recognition to blindness and vision impairment as a global public health issue. This year TOMS worked with three local LA artist to create public works of art, part of a 3-part series called “Gift of Sight.”