Kenton Lee - Shoes That Grow Founder Giving Every Child Hope by Protecting Their Feet

THE PROBLEM

Over 2 billion people suffer from soil-transmitted diseases and parasites. They live in areas that do not have adequate sanitation.  They struggle with proper hygiene.  They do not have the right clothing, resources, or healthcare.  And being sick = struggling.  Kids miss school, can’t help their families, suffer with pain. Many of these diseases and parasites get into the body because people don’t have shoes.

There are over 300 million children who do not have shoes.  And countless more with shoes that do not fit. Sometimes they receive donations of shoes, but these are kids.  Their feet grow.  And they outgrow donated shoes within a year.  Right back where they started. 

Kenton first came up with the idea for a shoe that grew while working at an orphanage in Kenya in 2007.  He noticed a girl in a little white dress who had holes cut into her shoes so her growing feet could push through the toe box of the shoes, giving her feet room and helping her to avoid painful feet. But Kenton thought something had to be done.  Why couldn't we come up with a shoe that would grow with a child? However, rejection from shoe manufacturers and others discouraged him initially. But his belief that children living without shoes was unacceptable and his perseverence eventually led to the development of the The Shoe That Grows (theshoethatgrows.org). 

I truly enjoyed this interview with Kenton and was inspired by his drive and passion for helping children around the world. This is a significant health problem and Kenton is on to something powerful here that could change health outcomes for millions of children.  As well, his organization is now manufacturing shoes in partner countries where the shoes are most needed, creating jobs, and opportunity for people to work their way out of poverty. 

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