Meet 10 year-old Somaya. Somaya’s passion is attending school and she hopes to one day become a teacher! She works alongside her father in the morning selling vegetables in the market, and after walks 20 minutes to attend school for four hours.
For Somaya shoes are not a fashion statement, but rather the difference between being able to receive an education or staying home. Without shoes, Somaya is not able to attend school, a barrier we can hardly even imagine. Shoes are so natural to us we do not think about the possibility of living without them. There have been times Somaya has had no shoes and has had to stay home. “When I can’t come to school, I get very upset and I cry for days,” Somaya said.
Because AMOR is the local partner in Afghanistan with AmeriCares and TOMS, Somaya and her classmates each were able to receive a brand new pair of winter boots from TOMS. “I never thought there would be anyone who would make me feel so happy. It was your organization who made me feel happy, now I can go to school with a new pair of boots,” Somaya exclaimed.
We often forget how essential shoes are in our lives. They get us from place to place and protect us from the elements. For students in Afghanistan, outgrowing shoes or not having a pair to begin with means having to travel in the summer heat and cold winters of Afghanistan barefoot, walking on dusty or soggy dirt roads littered with trash and rocks.
Heela comes from a family less fortunate than most in Afghanistan. Her father is a wood cutter working tirelessly to provide for his family. Heela enjoys studying and was extremely joyful when she received a pair of winter boots. She couldn’t sit still and immediately tried them on. “I feel like I could throw off sparks when I got these beautiful pair of boots,” said Heela.