TOMS | One Day Without Shoes

MSN is supporting the fourth annual global campaign to give visibility to the millions of children who grow up without shoes and are at risk of infection and disease.

One Day Without Shoes is a global event designed to encourage people to go barefoot for a day to draw attention to the plight of children in developing nations who face injury, illness and missed opportunity because they don't have adequate protection.

This is the second year Microsoft has been involved in the One Day Without Shoes Campaign. Microsoft is encouraging employees to take part, and MSN will purchase 1000 pairs of shoes to help TOMS provide shoes to children in need. To see pictures of people participating, or to post your own picture of yourself in bare feet to support the effort, visit MSN's special site here: http://on-msn.com/eXHngq.

Hundreds of thousands of people plan to take off their shoes on April 5, and will show up at work, school and elsewhere. Organizers hope the bare feet will spark conversations about the risks these needy kids face.

TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie says that not having shoes puts kids at a heightened risk of injury, disease and infection. Among the soil-transmitted risks that most can't afford to prevent and treat are:

  • Hookworm: Causes anemia, stunted physical and mental development and, on occasion, congestive heart failure. Affects up to one-fifth of the world's population.
  • Podoconiosis or "mossy foot disease": Causes swelling of the feet and legs due to prolonged exposure to certain types of irritant soil.
  • Chiggers: Bites on the feet and ankles from these mites can cause severe itching and hives.
  • Tetanus: Potentially fatal infectious disease caused by bacteria entering the body through cuts or other open wounds. Causes painful muscle spasms and locked jaw.

In addition, many schools in rural developing nations require students to have shoes to attend schools, so not having shoes is a roadblock to opportunity.

TOMS Shoes

TOMS Shoes is the sponsor of One Day Without Shoes, which started as a U.S. college campus movement in 2008 and has grown into an event that attracted more than 250,000 participants last year.

Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes in 2006. The company was named TOMS because of its goal to "create a better tomorrow by taking compassionate action today." Mycoskie decided to start a business rather than a charity, believing its prospects for long-term success were greater. "With our One for One Mission," the TOMS website says, "TOMS Shoes transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support." TOMS says the strategy has allowed the company to give more shoes more rapidly and to involve more consumers in the process.

With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Since its beginning in 2006, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children through giving partners around the world. The company currently gives in 23 countries like Argentina, Cambodia, South Africa, and Ethiopia. TOMS works with giving partners (nongovernmental organizations) to coordinate distribution and repeat giving to accommodate children who outgrow their shoes. According to its website, TOMS is "a for-profit company with giving at its core."

Mycoskie has been part of the Clinton Global Initiative, a presenter at the TED (Technology, Education and Design) conference and a frequent speaker at corporations and universities. In 2009, TOMS received the Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence, which recognizes companies' commitment to corporate responsibility, innovation, exemplary practices and democratic values worldwide.

Sources: http://onedaywithoutshoes.com, http://toms.com/faq

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