How To Solve The Biggest Problems With The Impact Shoe
For those of you that have followed my blog for long, you have learned that the children of Haiti have stolen my heart. Recently I had the pleasure to speak with the founder of REBUILD globally, Julie Colombino, who is helping the kids of Haiti with the Impact Shoe.
If you have ever been to Haiti or even seen pictures you would see that the terrain there can be rather difficult. Since the earthquake in 2010, much of the infrastructure has been reduced to rubble. It is not uncommon for the children of Haiti to walk great distances. Sometimes a couple of miles of rough mountainous terrain each day to attend school. Shoes donated from countries around the world do not always provide the wear they need. Shoes bought at the dollar store, or hand-me-downs might last in countries with roads and sidewalks, but not where rocks and debris make your path.
Orlando-based nonprofit, REBUILD globally, announces a groundbreaking initiative to tackle the root causes of poverty in Haiti with a revolutionary new product: a school shoe made from re-purposed and recycled materials that enables children to pursue their education.
It is estimated that 50% of the children of Haiti do not attend school due to costs. Costs of not only the school, but also the uniforms, and shoes. To solve this and other problems, REBUILD globally created a Haitian for-profit company named deux mains designs. As a nonprofit organization fighting poverty, REBUILD globally felt that by creating a local business in Port-au-Prince, that gives back to the community, it would in turn invest in the local area. They train Haitian men and women to become the skilled craftspeople creating shoes, bags and more from local resources.
The craftspeople of deux mains designs produce the soles of the shoes from upcycled tires while Thread, a Certified B Corporation, transforms Haitian plastic waste into quality textiles that create the upper of the school shoe. By integrating up-cycled and locally sourced materials into its fashion line, the partnership supports both education and economic growth in Haiti.
You might be wondering what an upcycled tire is. I was as well when I first heard of deux mains back at the Florida BlogCon2015 in Orlando last September. In Haiti, tires are a problem, just like the shoes of the children that wear out, so do the vehicles. Haiti does not have a way of disposing of these thousands of tires, other than to burn them. You can drive down almost any road and see smoke billowing from the tires burning in makeshift landfills. These burning tires, besides the smell, also pollute and reduce the air quality in Haiti with the toxins released from the burning rubber.
In using the tires to create the soles of the Impact Shoes and the other shoes deux mains artisans create they have reduced the carbon footprint by transforming 8,000 tires into beautiful products. They have reduced the emission of CO2 by 9 metric tons, according to the EPA’s Pollution Prevention Program’s Greenhouse Gas Calculator. They have provided dozens of jobs in the local community where they can provide the men and women a wage that allows them to invest back into their community as well as the company itself.
By creating a partnership with the Haitian people, REBUILD globally has been able to provide a sustainable model that not only produces goods in the area that have an environmental and economic impact as well as creates awareness. You can become a part of the change in Haiti by simply as buying a pair of shoes for a child in Haiti. You invest in their future. Not only is it an investment in the youth, enabling them to travel safely to and from school. Your purchase also pours into the local community.
Customers can purchase school shoes for a Haitian child in need at www.REBUILDglobally.org. Proceeds from the shoe sales guarantee the sustainability of this initiative and stimulates Haiti’s shoemaking industry, which has been severely undermined by an influx of low-cost, second-hand goods flooding the local market.
*When you order a pair of shoes, REBUILD globally will deliver those shoes to a student at one of the schools they have formed partnerships with.
**Wholesale Orders are also an option for those of you who are interested in providing a group of students with shoes. This option is great for Mission Teams, Volunteers Groups, etc. If you would like to fundraise for the project, REBUILD globally will help with messaging, marketing, promotion, and logistics.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.