Today I will give you some statistics about feet. (Really.)
24% of the globe’s population (2 billion people) are infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections. Helminths are a parasitic worm that penetrate the skin through the soles of a person’s bare feet.
Helminths are why I tell the teams going to Kenya with CRF to not walk barefoot in the slums—but few people worldwide actually have that option. These worms are fairly simple to cure (about $1), but for families who make less than $2 per day and consistently walk barefoot in the streets, getting the parasites again and again, treatment is truly impossible.
These parasites thrive in damp areas, particularly places that are soiled with human and animal waste, trash and debris, and stagnant water. Millions of children walk barefoot in these conditions each day—and they suffer the consequences of this.
Every year over a million children die from preventable diseases that were caused largely by lack of shoes. 42% of all parasitic diseases are caused by walking barefoot in third world countries. (The other 58% mainly is from drinking unclean water.)
Another problem that occurs for children who can’t afford shoes—they are not allowed to set foot inside most classrooms.
Shoes provide aid for individuals living in poverty by protecting against parasites, injuries, and infections, by allowing children to attend school in required uniform, and by assisting families to walk that extra distance when there is an emergency.
When you sponsor a child with CRF, they are regularly given shoes to wear. They’re in school, they're healthier, and step-by-step they are walking away from one more aspect of extreme poverty that controlled so much of their lives before sponsorship.