Sal's Shoes is a not-for-profit organisation recognised as charitable by HMRC for tax purposes.
To find out more about our achievements in our third year please click here, click here.
There’s something wonderful about watching a child take its first faltering steps; toddling barefoot, not cramped by shoes or socks.
But then, as confidence grows, there are leaves to be kicked up and puddles to splash in. And so, to their first pair of shoes. Before long, their little feet will outgrow them; and the cycle of replacing barely-worn shoes begins.
Now, imagine this.
There are 300 million children in the world for whom walking with shoes is a rarity. This makes them extremely vulnerable to infection by parasites, such as hookworm; while injuries to the feet and ankles can lead to ulcers and other conditions which are almost always left untreated. Without shoes, many children are not permitted to attend school.
Three years ago, when faced with a collection of our son Sal’s outgrown shoes, I sought out charities who could donate them to those most in need. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single organisation that could tell me where Sal’s pre-loved shoes would actually end up.
I decided to cut out the middle man. Having grown up in Africa, and with a network of family and friends scattered all over the world, I decided that if no-one was willing to tell me where exactly Sal’s shoes would end up walking again, I would deliver them there myself. A parcel was sent to a friend overseas, who distributed them on a children’s oncology ward and sent back a photograph of a child wearing Sal’s first pair of shoes; Sal’s pair of shoes had become another’s.
After initially collecting more outgrown children’s shoes from family and friends, word spread and soon I was inundated with pairs of barely worn shoes; ‘Sal’s Shoes’ had been born.
In our first year, we collected 4,805 pairs of shoes and distributed them in 8 countries, including in the UK. In 2015, our third year we collected 81,598 pairs of shoes and distributed them in 26 countries.