An American-based Charity Organisation has donated a rare type of shoe that grows with the child’s feet to a school in Kibra, Kenya.
The American Charity Organisation known as Because International donated the shoes after partnering with a local non-profit organisation tasked with distributing the flexible shoes.
Even so, the charity’s East African distributor, which is a separate entity from the local non-profit, told the Voice of Africa (VOA) that they selected Kibra due to the prevalent financial challenges faced by school-going children in the region.
Many of these children come from modest backgrounds, making it difficult for them to afford new shoes or replacements as they outgrow their current pairs.
The adjustable shoes known as ”The Shoe That Grows”
”The Shoe that grows is a type of shoe that adjusts to different levels that give the child a chance to wear it at its smallest size as it adjusts to biggest size,” said Japhet Opondo, Charity’s East African distributor.
Invented by Kenton Lee in 2007 while he was working at an orphanage in Kenya, ‘The Shoe That Grows’ took six years to design.
”One day I saw a little girl, walking on a very dirty road, with shoes so small that they were ripped open, revealing her toes. I then came up with this idea of creating a shoe that can adjust to a child’s feet,” Kenton told the United Nations (UN) in a separate interview.
Lee utilised a compressed rubber sole and durable synthetic leather straps to create a comfortable footwear solution.
These adjustable shoes have the capacity to expand up to five sizes, ensuring they can be worn for several years, thus alleviating the financial burden on children and their families by eliminating the need for frequent shoe replacements.
”We have two models: one for children aged four to eight and the other for those aged eight to twelve,” Lee added
Lee’s motivation stems from a genuine desire to protect numerous barefoot children from potential harm, such as injuries, diseases, and accidents like falls.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost 1.5 billion people suffer from soil-transmitted diseases with 20 million being children from Sub-Saharan Africa due to high levels of poverty.
”It is also incredible to see how children become more confident wearing nice shoes,” he said.
Lee Kenton with a sample of his special designed shoes