Inspiration is everywhere. In 2007, Kenton Lee was living in Kenya, where he noticed a little girl in a white dress while he was walking to church. She had cut off the end of her shoes so that her toes poked out of the end; many of the children had to be resourceful to make their shoes last as long as possible. It was then that Lee had the idea for shoes that could expand as children grew. Lee worked with a company in the Northwest US and developed The Shoe That Grows — a shoe made of simple materials that do not break or wear out. There are only 2 sizes, and each size can be expanded five times and will last five years. The shoes are easily compressed with 50 pairs of shoes fitting into one regular suitcase that weighs under 50 pounds.
Shoes like these are needed because of the parasites that live in dirt and can transmit diseases through the skin. Approximately 2 billion people have diseases that were transmitted through the dirt in areas with poor sanitation. According to The Shoe That Grows, “There are 300 million children who do not have shoes. And countless more with shoes that do not fit.” Those people are unable to go to work or school, which further deteriorates their standard of living. A pair of shoes would help prevent them from ever getting sick.
The Shoe That Grows is proud to say that their first run of 3,000 shoes sold out. Their shoes have been distributed in Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, Vietnam, and Laos. The next shipment of shoes will be sent in July, so if you would like to send shoes to impoverished children, please head here.