Friday, May 1, 2015

TOMS partners with UNRWA to shoe Palestinian children

I will not look at a pair of TOMS shoes in the same way again. I didn’t find the canvas ones that so many people wear very attractive. My bad! Now, I can’t wait to get a pair and be able to support such a noble initiative by the company and its founder.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has partnered with TOMS to supply Palestinian refugee children living in Jordan and Gaza with shoes.

TOMS will provide shoes and support the local distribution expenses through its “Last Mile Contribution.” The expenses covered include, freight, vehicle rentals, fuel, storage, and labor required to get the shoes from their factory to the children in Gaza and Jordan.

TOMS is an American company founded by Blake Mycoskie, who had a vision to help children in need of shoes. He started with the TOMS Shoes “One for One” project. The company donates a shoe to a child in need every time a consumer purchases a TOMS shoe.

Distributing TOMS shoes in Gaza (photo via UNRWA)
TOMS shoes were distributed to students enrolled in 1st and 2nd grade in UNRWA schools. In March alone, approximately 100,000 pairs of TOMS were distributed to children in Gaza where UNRWA provides education to approximately 240,000 students in 252 schools. Many families, living on less than $1.53 per person per day, lack even the means to meet their basic food and living requirements. Receiving an essential item such as shoes for their children allows families to free some resources to purchase food.

Having shoes to wear to school is an important component of the right to an adequate standard of living, as enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reiterated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In Jordan, shoes were distributed to students enrolled in grades one and two in UNRWA schools, and out-of-school children receiving social safety net benefits or on the social safety net waitlist. UNRWA provides basic education to over 117,000 students at 175 UNRWA schools in Jordan. This education program helps young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to thrive as adults in an evolving, challenging landscape.


Blake Mycoskie distributing shoes to children
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need – One for One.
TOMS has given over 35 million pairs of shoes to children in need. TOMS® Shoes are always given to children through humanitarian organizations who incorporate shoes into their community development programs.

Realizing that One for One could serve other global needs, Mycoskie launched TOMS Eyewear in 2011 to help restore sight to persons in need with every purchase of sunglasses and optical frames.
TOMS Eyewear has helped restore sight to over 275,000 people in need in 13 countries. The eyewear initiative provides prescription glasses, medical treatment and/or sight-saving surgery with each purchase of eyewear.

In 2014, TOMS Roasting Co. launched with the mission to provide safe water to developing communities with the purchase of premium coffee.

In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection launched in four countries with three Giving Partners to help address the need for advancements in maternal health. Purchases of TOMS Bags help provide training for skilled birth attendants and the distribution of birth kits containing items that help a woman safely deliver her baby. Every TOMS bag purchased helps provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need.

Will stop now and go find a TOMS store…