Thousands of children in need who live in the remote communities of southwest Nicaragua received new shoes this year, thanks to a new partnership between TOMS Shoes and the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic. Through TOMS Shoes One for One™ giving campaign, with every pair purchased, TOMS gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need.
Nicaclinic staff traveled to more than 50 schools in 27 communities in late July and early August to distribute TOMS Shoes to students of all ages from elementary through high school. Many of the children who live in the isolated villages of Limón and surrounding communities walk long distances on dirt roads to get to school and can’t afford to buy new shoes.
Shoes are a basic necessity that many of us take for granted, but they are a fundamental resource for protecting children from rough terrain, infection and diseases in developing countries. Children who are healthy are more likely to be successful students, and we know that access to education is critical to their long-term success.
Students and teachers in Nicaragua were thrilled to receive the new shoes, which brought smiles to many of their faces. Juan Vargas, general manager of Nicaclinic, headed up a team of volunteers to help distribute the shoes and make sure each child was given the correct size.
The shoe giving partnership with TOMS is just one of the ways Nicaclinic is working to improve the health of residents who live along the rugged Pacific coastline in southwest Nicaragua. In addition to supplying free and low-cost medical care to more than 10,000 patients each year, the clinic strives to educate the community about better health, as well as prevent diseases, cure viruses and treat injuries and chronic health problems that are endemic to this part of the world, where running water and flushing toilets are still quite rare.
Nicaclinic relies on the generous donations of individuals and organizations to continue to provide emergency and primary care. The clinic’s volunteer program connects medical, student and other volunteers with hands-on opportunities to work with patients and members of the community. And the Padrino Program allows participants to sponsor a child and make a monthly donation to their health and educational needs.
For more information about the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic and TOMS Shoes, please visit www.nicaclinic.org and www.toms.com. To see a video of children in Nicaragua receiving their TOMS Shoes, please visit http://www.youtube.com/user/Nicaclinic.
Juan Muñoz is Executive Director of the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic, a nonprofit organization that supplies low-cost medical care to thousands of people living in isolated villages and surrounding communities in southwest Nicaragua.