Thursday, April 14, 2011

Save The Feet!

There are an estimated 4 million people who suffer from a disease called Podoconiosis. Rarely heard of, it is a disease common in poor countries who cannot afford shoes. Contact with soils rich in alkali metals such as sodium and potassium allow fibers to penetrate the skin and scar the lymphatic system.

Dr. Gail Davey allies with Blake Mycoskie, creator of TOMS shoes - a for-profit organization which sells shoes, and donates a pair for every one purchased - to advocate for this disease. But how valuable has their organization been in combating global poverty?

National recognition and a widespread impact on a number of international communities does not guarantee that organizations such as TOMS can avoid consequences of their actions. For Saundra Schimmelpfennig, founder of the Charity Rater, LLC and Good Intentions, the definition of successful foreign aid is relative to the depth of effectiveness and knowledge of how the needs across the globe are being met.

Awareness and education are important to execute smart aid, but this takes time. Meanwhile, why not utilize a safety buffer that TOMS shoes presents in order to avoid the prevalence of this disease until then?

How calculative is enough, when people are suffering across the world, and TOMS may be helping people attend school and avoid diseases. In Egypt, 6% of the population is affected with Podoconiosis. Here, even the minuscule improvement of living conditions, reduction of disease, and a chance to get an education is an immeasurable cost that cannot be delayed until the perfect conditions for foreign aid standards are met. The real danger is denying any opportunity for individuals in developed countries to be shaken of apathy, and allowing them to experience the first step towards making a difference: Good intentions.

Podoconiosis is not going to wait around for a time and place where education on the importance of shoes, along with access to shoes exist on a widespread level. When it comes to podoconiosis, it’s simple. There are people who need shoes, and TOMS can provide them with shoes, and they do! As a firm believer of limitless growth potential in every entity, being, and opportunity, Good Intentions presents an ally to not only TOMS, but other non-profits and foreign aid organizations to help them find the type of success that Good Intentions describes. One that mobilizes all efforts and works collectively in order to tackle global poverty on all fronts to maximize effectiveness.

-Eunice Sun