Can you go one whole day without shoes on?

12 April 2012

No? Thought so.

We should consider ourselves lucky because we get to do our day-to-day activities with our feet safe and protected. I know it is easy to take some things for granted because they've always been there, but when you think about it, not everyone enjoys the same privileges we do.

Reality hurts, and the truth is, millions of people all around the world are forced to go to school (or worse, work) without shoes or even slippers on. I'm sure you've seen one of those documentaries that show kids going to school without protection on their feet because their family is too poor and cannot afford shoes. 
Who knew there were so many hazards to living without shoes? 
- 30,000 people live in just one landfill in the Philippines, where children walk over broken glass, syringes and debris each day.   
- 4,000,000 people have podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by living barefoot in volcanic salt. 
- 1,890,000 Kenyan children are infected with jiggers, burrowing fleas that cause painful lesions. 
- 740,000,000 people are affected by hookworm, a soil-transmitted parasite that can cause intestinal pain, weakness and cognitive impairment.
Heartbreaking, yes? Absolutely. This is something that affects me deeply because I love shoes and used to buy a pair (or two, or three) almost every month. Thankfully I have acknowledged enough is enough and have already broken this habit.

And that is why I applaud TOMS's cause: for every pair of TOMS sold, they donate a pair of shoes to a child. As a way of spreading awareness, TOMS came up with the project One Day Without Shoes, with the slogan "Go without shoes so kids don't have to." The aim of the project is to spread the word about the stark and sad reality of these children by making those considered more fortunate experience first-hand what it's like to go without shoes.

It was held last Tuesday at Greenbelt Park, and I can speak for Ana and Angel when I say it was definitely one of the most unique experiences we've had!

Experiencing what it's like to walk on soil, gravel, and sand.
"Ask me about my feet" temporary tattoos
Mine was ruined, prompting Angel to say I'm not a real 90s kid. Pfffft.
Face and body painting
Angel brought her Wonder Baby Syrena. Here she is bonding with a new friend :)
Chillin' out with barefooted beauties
We were there since 3PM but were told the program will start at 5:30PM. So, after taking a few photos, we decided to pop in to Starbucks to while away the time. Yes, without shoes on.

Ordering barefoot, like a boss.
The people there were already aware of the event outside so we didn't get too many awkward stares, but it certainly felt unnerving to be without shoes on such a "posh" part of the mall.

At exactly 5:30PM, we took part in a parade that went around Greenbelt 3.

Glad to see a lot of people took part in the event :)
Event hosts Vince and Tracy said there were invited bands but we didn't get to watch them anymore as Ana and I rushed to SMART-Araneta Coliseum for The Cranberries. But of course we stopped by the freedom wall first:

Well wishes for TOMS | My wish
I don't know whose this was, but he/ she is still obviously on a Hanson high | Angel's campaign for me, Sarah and Ana :)
At the risk of sounding holier-than-thou, as Ana said, we participated not as bloggers but as members of the public who just want to make life a little bit better for other people. I'm glad I got to go as I realized how lucky I am indeed.

I'm looking forward to buying my own TOMS soon, so I can make a kid happy with a new pair of shoes :)

Here are more helpful links:

Check Ana's post to see a cool vlog she made about the event!

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