Charities seem to stay with us or disappear after they become “uncool,” some of the good ones die out and become nothing while some stay in power when they really don’t do much.
While what TOMS is doing is nice, it really isn’t solving any problems at all. They say by giving these shoes to a child, it will help prevent many diseases that can penetrate the skin. This is like trying to cover up a leak with duct tape; it’s not going to do much good for long.
Water is what’s needed most in third world countries. All the bacteria that are in many people’s water put them at much more risk of infections than the bacteria on their feet. TOMS has sold over one million shoes to date, think about how much construction and research you could do to provide drinkable water for developing countries with the money they’ve made. Children die every day because of lack of water, not sores on there feet.
The children in Africa have gone thousands of years without any shoes. From day one they walk on bare feet, they grow calluses and learn to walk a different way that’s actually more beneficial than people who wear shoes walk. When given shoes it can cause health problems because of the way shoes shape your feet. TOMS have no support at all. They are a nice luxury for a year or two until the child out grows or wears them out.
TOMS are a perfect example of bad aid. They get something that they personally want with a bonus of some child getting the same item. This is giving people the wrong idea of a charity. This makes them look good by buying something they really want. It’s like buying your mom a movie that you actually really want to see.
My biggest issue with TOMS is what happens to the children after their shoe falls apart? While wearing the shoe for a year the child’s feet would begin to shape to the shoe and their calluses would soften. This would lead to their feet being even more susceptible to foot born illnesses then ever. In the end TOMS cause more damage than benefit to children.
TOMS has recently started a one for one campaign with glasses. Similar to the shoe version when you buy a pair of glasses a child receives a pair or sight saving surgery. This is a great move and unlike the shoes “one for one” I believe that this movement will help greatly in developing countries.
Despite starting this new program, I’m still not sold on the whole shoe “one for one” idea. So next time you buy a pair of TOMS think beyond the fashion of the shoe and think about if what you’re doing is more harmful than not. With a brand that’s for equal rights and against poverty look inside your TOMS shoe, you will notice it says: “Made in China.”
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