Sole Hope: One Step at a Time
Recently on Twitter I discovered a new organization called Sole Hope (@SoleHope). Their mission: create jobs and shoes for those in need.
It all started with this YouTube video (warning: watch this video with a strong stomach) showing volunteers extracting jiggers from children’s feet in Africa. Jiggers are small sand fleas that enter bare feet and burrow into the skin. If left untreated they can lead to serious infections, paralysis and even amputation. The worst part, all of this could be avoided if people were wearing closed-toed shoes and washed their feet. Asher Collie (founder of Sole Hope) saw the video and it broke her heart. After seeing the pain on the children’s faces, being a mother herself, she couldn’t sit idly by a leave the problem to someone else. She choose to do something about it and in 2010 Asher visited Zambia Africa to see what could be done.
Once realizing how real the problem was she came home and began designing a shoe with friend, and designer, Beth Gaffney. Soon Asher realized that not only could she make shoes for the children, but she could also create jobs by teaching how to make the shoes. Sole Hope’s vision is “to offer hope to widows, orphans and others within impoverished and forgotten communities around the world by teaching the simple trade of shoemaking that provides jobs and shoes for those in need.”Currently Sole Hope provides the much needed shoes and jobs to Uganda and Zambia, Africa, jobs to those in the US, and they just keep growing!
I was lucky enough to be able to interview the founder of the organization, Asher Collie.
Once you realized you wanted to do something about it, how did you get started?
I founded Sole Hope after seeing a video that rocked my world. After learning about jiggers and other parasites entering through the feet of children without shoes I was completely and utterly disturbed by a problem that was impacting the lives of thousands of children in Africa, and was completely preventable. I began to take actions to design a shoe that could be made by men and women in impoverished villages needing work that we could teach them to make and put of the feet of children in their village.
What are some of your future goals and projects you have for Sole Hope?
We desire to keep growing our program so that we can impact thousands more children this year. We are also working on an adult shoe as well as perfecting the youth shoe that is made in Africa at the moment. We are in a contest right now for a $50K grant [vote here!], and if we get the funds we will start building a building in Zambia where we have a program so that the workers can have a place to store the shoes that are made by size, until it is time to give them out, a place to keep their fabric and sewing machines as well as work!
Are there easy ways for people to get involved?
What would you say to those who see major problems in our world, but don’t feel like they can do anything about it?
I would tell them to just do something and don’t compare yourself to others who are doing something to help major problems in our world. Every organization that is impacting thousands needs help, so at the very least you can find an organization you find great worth in and volunteer or ask to help them with whatever gifts you naturally have.
Asher is a true inspiration and has a huge heart. We need more of her in our world!
Don’t forget to vote for Sole Hope! With your votes they could win a $50,000 grant to continue building their mission! They need YOUR help! Vote here once a day to vote for Sole Hope! Again, the address is: http://www.cultivatewines.com/cause/4856 and you can vote every day!
To learn more about Sole Hope and how you can help: