Tuesday March 20, 2018

300 Million Children around the world don’t have Shoes: Idaho Inventor Kenton Lee Fights soil-transmitted Diseases With Shoe That Grows

Lee worked as a volunteer in an orphanage in Kenya after graduating from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, where he lives now

Shoe that grows, VOA

Children outgrow their shoes quickly. That often leaves kids who live in abject poverty no option but to walk around barefoot. An estimated 300 million children around the world don’t have shoes and are prone to suffer from soil-transmitted diseases and parasites.

Kenton Lee has a practical solution — a shoe that grows as the child does.

The shoes can expand up to five sizes and last up to five years. They can be adjusted at three places: the front with a hook and holes like a waist belt, the sides with Velcro, and the back with a buckle. The bottom is made of compressed rubber-like tire rubber, and the top is high-quality leather.

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Lee worked as a volunteer in an orphanage in Kenya after graduating from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, where he lives now.

He told VOA about a little girl in a white dress who was walking next to him one day.

“I remember looking down and seeing how small her shoes were,” he said. “They were way too small for her feet. They were so small she had to cut open the front of her shoes to let her toes stick out. I just remember thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a pair of shoes that could grow with her feet.”

Creating a shoe that grows

Turning his idea into reality was not easy.

“I kept writing down I should do this because of this, because of that,” Lee said. “All these reasons why it really was important for me to try to make the shoes that could grow and try to help kids.”

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Finally in 2009, the nonprofit organisation Because International was born. Lee keeps a pair of rugged shoes on a shelf in his office as a reminder of his commitment.

“I told myself I would not get new shoes until the idea was done,” Lee said. “So those are the shoes I wore for a little over five years. They got holes in them. They got really beat up, but once we finally made The Shoe That Grows happen, then I finally got some new shoes.”

So far, working with partner organisations, Because International has sent more than 50,000 pairs of the shoes to 70 countries on six continents. The shoe comes in two sizes, a small that fits children ages 4 to 9, and a large for youngsters ages 9 to 14.

Not just shoes, but jobs

Lee says the majority of the shoes are going to East Africa.

“So Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia. And also a lot of our shoes go to Haiti, Nicaragua, some of the Central American countries as well — anywhere where there are needs for footwear.”

Lee points out that many children live in areas without adequate sanitation. Many soil-transmitted diseases and parasites get into the body through the soles of their feet.

“It is really heartbreaking,” Lee said. “They stay sick for a long time. They are not able to afford medical care. So a lot of them just really fall behind. They don’t go to school. They don’t learn and grow as a child should.”

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Because International recently began to manufacture the shoes in some of the countries where the footwear is needed to help bring jobs to people there, too.

Lee believes a pair of shoes offers more than protection; it provides dignity. He says his goal is to help get the Shoe That Grows to as many children as he can around the world.

“Because it is a small thing that really does make a big difference to keep them healthy and happy and having more chances to succeed,” he said. (VOA)

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Next Story

Understanding Phenomenon of Mind: Here’s why Children Today lack Thinking Abilities!

Creativity is the phenomenon of mind, where thinking and imagination work together to produce reality

Children today lack the thinking skills
Children must be given full freedom to develop their thinking skills. Pixabay
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we create the world.”  — The Buddha, The Dammapada

New Delhi, July 25th, 2017: The ability to create has always been the most underestimated yet the most practically advantageous quality in a person. Ours is the world that is constantly changing, can we, then, rely just on fixed ideas to get through? Creativity is not an option but an indispensable quality for success, adaptation or plain survival. The question that comes to mind is “Where are the origins of this ‘creativity’?” The answer is pretty simple, It is the phenomenon of mind, where thinking and imagination work together to produce reality.

NewGram got in touch with teachers from Delhi and Punjab to discuss child psychology, how flawed education system is affecting child’s intellectual growth.

Children today are lacking the much-needed thinking skills!
It has been noticed that the majority of children today do not possess the ability to think. Even the most ‘socially considered intelligent’ among the bunch, fail to respond appropriately when faced with a situation where only thinking or creativity could come to their rescue. The possible reasons for this are not exactly a mystery, for a lot of research and studies have been performed by the curious minds, to decode the answer to this mare’s nest, leaving us with certain assumptions and probabilities.

Could it be, by any chance, that the education system itself is flawed? In most countries of the world, marks remain the ultimate target and the criteria on which the intelligence of a child is judged. Marks, as we know, are attained by real hard work, but making marks the priority seems to be diminishing a child’s keenness to think. If they can read the facts, write the same on a piece of paper, get great marks and be called intelligent, why would they take the initiative to think and innovate? The system should aim to develop a child’s curiosity, their interest needs to be ignited, and consequently, their ability to think.

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While speaking to NewsGram, Sunita Rani, a teacher at Shaheed Ganj Public School, Faridkot, Punjab says, “everybody is after marks, children, their parents, and even most of the teachers are compelled to think this way. I personally believe brains were meant to think, to analyze, but today’s children have given up on thinking over anything, even what I just said for that matter. This is disappointing, but system doesn’t work according to our wishes,”

Internet seems to be another monster in disguise, for children who rely on it, for almost anything and everything. They don’t feel the need to click their brains, when they can get to know most of everything, by clicking on their mouse instead.

“The availability of everything on the internet has made children lazy, no need to remember things, no need to attempt to understand the complicated in it’s original form, when you can easily understand it by finding some simpler alternatives on the internet. Impact of technology has not been very positive when it comes to children’s thinking skills,” says Renu Singla, a science teacher in Swami Sivananda Memorial School, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.

ALSO READ: Memory and thinking tests can help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: New Study

Freedom is also something, the lack of which can directly or indirectly restrain children’s thinking skills. Constant monitoring and adult evaluation stifles creativity. On the contrary, allowing children to learn, explore, get bored, and overcome boredom, all by their own, not only nurtures creativity but also makes them confident and willing to take decisions, preparing future leaders in the process.

Creative culture that we have, demands creative people. Real situations need real people with the real/practical abilities to think, understand and find solutions. Even career wise, Most people have a decent academic profile, but what the employers seek now, are these abilities in the prospective employee, that can make their establishment reach real goals in real time.

And remind me again of the time, when you were deciding what to drink, where to invest, or how to deal with a difficult client, and what you crammed in the last history exam (for which you got an A), helped?

– reported by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha