Shoes for Africa kicks off

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To collect shoes for children and adults in Africa, five St. Cloud State students have partnered with Making a Difference International Inc. (MADI) to launch a shoe drive from Oct. 18 – Nov. 30. This drive is a community action project that the students have started as part of their Social Welfare and Democratic Citizenship class.

"It has been a wonderful project to work on," said freshman Paula Stevens, Albertville, who is majoring in Social Work.  "We are working with School District 742 and area churches to collect shoes for Africa. We are now looking for more locations to place our donation boxes to expand our drive."

Shoes collected from the drive will be shipped to Uganda through MADI Inc.  The project members also will hold raffles and silent auctions at a charity spaghetti dinner Dec. 1 at the University Lutheran Church. A donation box has been placed inside Atwood Memorial Center for students, faculty and staff to donate shoes for Africa.

"It is such an exciting thing to see the face of a smiling child holding his first pair of shoes," said Funwi Tita, founder of MADI Inc., a humanitarian organization based in St. Michael. "One need not be a billionaire like Bill Gates to make a change – we all can make changes in our own little ways."

Shoes for Africa project members also present at the kick-off were junior Lisa Twomey, Arbor Lake and sophomore Josephine Adika, Ghana – they are majoring in Social Work.

There are more than 300 million shoeless children around the world. In Africa, children and adults alike need footwear to reduce trauma, hookworm and parasitic diseases that enter the bare foot. Shoes also are important to minimize foot infections in the diabetic population as well as to lower the risk for other illnesses.

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