I entered the little shop, wall to wall with boxes on shelves and gestured to my children to follow me towards the furthest aisle.
They were not keen, and I couldn’t blame them.
As we sidled past a young boy amidst a mountain of shiny black shoes, Bubble announced that she just didn’t think that she would enjoy school very much if she had to wear black shoes.
“I’m sorry sweetheart,” I said. “But this is school now, not kinder. You have to wear uniform.”
Another weary looking set of eyes glanced up at me from fitting a pair of runners on her toddler’s feet as she exclaimed, “It must be a girl thing! My daughter is already trying to tell me what shoes she will and won’t wear and she isn’t even 3 yet!”
As Bubble continued to whine on about pink shoes, I proceeded to pull down suitably sized footwear for them all to try on, stopping only briefly now and then to smile at other equally harangued mothers shopping for school shoes with their equally unimpressed offspring.
But just as the words formed in my mind – I hate shopping for shoes for my children – I realised how lucky we are, and how ungrateful that thought sounded, even just echoing in my head. I realised how ashamed I would feel if a mother from a developing country knew how I could afford to feed, and cloth my children well, yet I still complained.
300 million children in developing countries walk the world barefoot – they do not even own any shoes.
You see, last week after my favourite pair of Fit Flops broke, I decided to grab a pair of thongs online to see me out for the rest of the Summer. I was on a road-trip heading from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast, and being a passenger was flicking through Facebook when I came across Moeloco – the inspirational flip flop brand.
I instantly loved the designs, and the inspirational messages of peace, happiness and love that they leave in the sand – but it was the ability it gave me to make a small but significant difference to a child’s life, that sold them to me.
“Dream Crazy” is the translation of Moeloco – and that is exactly what Sydney entrepreneur and social innovator Kathy Wong intends to do. Through a collaboration with the Hope Foundation in Calcutta, Moeloco donate 1 pair of shoes to an impoverished Indian child for every pair sold.
“I find it heartbreaking and feel for these children”, Ms Wong said after she became aware of the devastation caused by children living without shoes. Walking barefoot, often through garbage dumps, construction sites or long distances to get water, can lead to serious health problems and also has educational and social implications.
“Apart from the children picking up dreadful skin lesions which can become so bad they can lead to amputation and even death, implications of not having shoes also cause educational and social problems for the kids.”
“ For instance, some schools will not accept children without shoes and without an education how can a child have an opportunity to better their impoverished circumstances.”
You can shop the Moeloco range for yourself on the online store www.moeloco.com
I bought the orange HAPPY shoes. Which ones would you choose?