Sneakers for Haitians
// Jeanne DeTellis Loudon
I’ve seen our Haitian children walk to school carrying their shoes, and then wash their feet before putting their shoes on to enter the school.
I’ve heard of some morning students sharing the same shoes with a sibling or neighbor who goes to an afternoon school. And I have also witnessed children walking barefoot every day on gravel/stone or muddy roads—most likely full of bacteria from the lack of sanitation in their villages. Children walking barefoot can get cuts, infections, hookworms and roundworms—leading to further illnesses.
During the cholera outbreak, not one of our students contacted this deadly disease because of aggressive education and the provision of soap and water. Why are children still barefooted? It’s not their fault. Many parents don’t have work in a country with a constant 85 percent unemployment rate. Some parents do have minimum paying jobs earning about $5 a day. With that pay, they would need $21 to buy a pair of shoes for a 10-year-old child. We have close to 10,000 students, and we would love to give each one a pair of new shoes every year.
I ask that you prayerfully consider buying sneakers to help cover the feet of our students. What a joy it will be to go from village to village, and from school to school in Haiti—seeing children wearing their new sneakers. Thank you! ~Jeanne DeTellis Loudon