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Swaziland School Children Welcome New Shoes

New TOMS Shoes are being distributed at mobile hospitals by The Luke Commission Compassionate Medicine team in Swaziland, southern Africa.

Thus far in 2013, new shoes have been given at more than 25 Luke Commission outreaches. Many days, children walk several kilometers from nearby rural schools to receive free medical assistance and a new pair of TOMS Shoes.


This girl’s feet will soon be protected and warmed by these new pair of TOMS Shoes fitted just for her.

It’s a sight to behold! First the girls are fitted one at a time. After each girl’s foot is measured and assigned a size, it is written on her wrist. TLC staff and volunteers then gently place a girl’s foot into a pair of TOMS Shoes to check for correct fitting and to alter if necessary.


It’s a big day – replacing shoes that are worn or shared with several family members.  Each of these students receive new TOMS Shoes (each one his very own pair!) at a Luke Commission mobile hospital which moved into their school for the day.

While the girls wait for their new shoes, TLC medical staff treats the boys. Then the reverse happens. Boys receive new TOMS Shoes, and the girls are treated for medical problems.


Striking a pose of happiness in their new TOMS Shoes are these schoolgirls from a remote school high in Swaziland’s mountains, where The Luke Commission visits and sets up a mobile hospital.

One TLC staff member said it is a privilege to help fit thousands of TOMS on rural Swazi school children.


Appreciatively showing off their new TOMS Shoes are these boys at a rural school in Swaziland, Africa, during a Luke Commission Compassionate Medicine outreach. 

The Luke Commission packs TOMS Shoes in a trailer pulled to the mobile hospital sites. The boxes of TOMS Shoes are arranged in order in the trailer, and staff members hand shoes to those fitting the children.


TOMS gives black, canvas shoes that are perfect for all school children in Swaziland, where in every school black shoes are required.

Tarps — called “sails” in Africa — are strung from tree to tree or building to trailer to provide shade for the long lines of waiting children, as well as those fitting each child. 

As the sun shifts in the sky throughout the day, sometimes the tarps lose their effectiveness. But the shy smiles and thank-you curtsies from the children never fade.


Casting a collective “siyabonga” (thank-you) are these Swaziland school boys, who received new TOMS Shoes at a Luke Commission mobile hospital site. 

 


These are feet, such as many look in rural Swaziland, Africa, that are covered and protected with TOMS Shoes. 

“It’s streamlined in order to be sure hundreds of children receive shoes each day but still in a very personal way,” said a member of TLC team. “Some come barefoot; some have shoes with holes in the bottom; some shoes are mismatched.”

Continued the TLC staff member: “Some children have sores on their feet, which we later send to the doctor. Many children have outgrown their shoes or share one pair with brothers or sisters. Giving each child a new pair of his or her own shoes is an indescribable pleasure.”


Thankful for their new TOMS are hundreds of Swazi children, who came for free medical treatment from The Luke Commission and received new shoes for their feet. 

Said Dr. Harry VanderWal, co-Executive Director and Founder of The Luke Commission, “We so appreciate our partnership with TOMS. We consider it an honor to work with a business that is concerned about children all over the world who do not have shoes to protect their feet.”

by Janet Tuinstra for The Luke Commission team



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