Toby's Blog

Pepsi Lipton Runners

We are celebrating our support from Pepsi Lipton with a most refreshing Lipton Tea. Following a run through the 'North West' Ragnar it was a cool off with this great product. No surprise it is one of our Kenyan runners, Chelimo, sipping the tea. It is a little known fact but Kenyan Runner LOVE and thrive and survive off..... Tea! #BeMoreTea. Thanks PepsiLipton

Loving the Jasiri Book sticker!

Victoria Farago is making the book, Peter Farago is designing = a winning!

School Five

Many thanks to Karen & Nat for working on this and getting our October program rolling... very exciting.  This is School #5.  The area is about 15km away from School #4 and about 40km from School #3 as we try to make a more concentrated approach to grouping.  Also, this is the very first Girls' only school.  The reason is we build for what the community needs

On the Pepsi Lipton website

Proud to be announced!


A really sweet letter

Dear Hannah Zilkowski -- thank you SO much. I have been carrying this letter around for months, and tried to locate you on social media etc. People like you motivate people like me to do the work that we do. I only received the card, there was no address... wherever you are, a big thank you!

Alton Central School!

Many thanks to the Alton Central School!  They, led by Laurie Griggs, conducted a fund raiser after a Social Studies course that explored the Power of One'.  The 8th grade students researched charities doing work in Africa.  I really wish I could go out to the school and thank these wonderful young students for being the new generation of changemakers!  Their power of one is helping out needy kids in East Africa who can't help themselves.  Thank you Alton Central!


Michael Kugler - Urban Bettag; stars!

I can't say enough good things about two guys - Michael Kugler & Urban Bettag who are the foundation of Shoe4Africa Germany.  In the charity business they say 95% of all leads don't materialize.  For me it has been closer to 98% thus when Michael mentioned he wanted to start an International chapter I hoped for the best. Boom, it not only happened, but people gravitated towards the goodness.  Katrin Fleischer hosted a music festival, Oliver Hoffmann carried over Shoes and had fund raiser beer parties, Michael collected a ton of shoes... then there were articles in the press - wow. wow - I was really thankful and impressed.

Then they said they wanted to hold a 5km in a beautiful castle grounds.  Back in the early nineties I had the honor of meeting Fred Lebow and I remember him saying 'Whatever you start grows.  Look at the NYC marathon!'  I am seeing Fred's spirit in Michael & Urban!  Thanks Guys.


Loredana.... a teddy bear story

Three years ago I received this moving email from a runner friend I had met the second week of September in 2008,

“Dear Toby, A couple of years ago I read a story about a little boy in Africa. He was dying of AIDS and had a wish: to be buried with his little bear because, he said, “He is my only friend.”
Someone had donated a hand-knitted bear. Unaware, perhaps, of how special it would become.
That same day I made a decision Toby. I asked you how many beds your hospital was going to have and, when you said 250, I knew that was my number. I was going to knit 250 ‘friends’ for the children of the Shoe4Africa hospital.” So Loredana started to knit, every month or so she would update me. The number grew, past 300. Then in late November, 2013 I got this sad email:

“Dear Toby,

I am sorry to inform you that on November 9, in a hospital room, together in love, as I lay by his side, tightly holding both of his hands in mine, my husband Enzo passed away.

Enzo loved it when I made bears for the children. Every time I would finish one, he would carefully look at it, smile and then say "this one is really beautiful".

This evening Shoe4Africa bear # 400 was born. My husband is not here to look at it. I trust that he would have liked it.”

Loredana’s journey has not only helped Shoe4Africa get an amazing 500 teddy bears for Kenya (that we will take over this August for the children of the hospital), but through this project she has now started a group of knitters and 3,000 bears have been sent out all over the world... to those little children who often come to the big intimidating hospitals often without a friend. Here’s the 500 for our hospital. Thanks Loredana – you’re an angel


The Economist article Aug 14

Very interesting article that I missed last year in the Economist.  By 2100 half of the children in the world, by looking at current trends, will be African.  How will the continent self-sustain when it is today struggling feeding its own?  What amount is being utilized, what percentage of the land can be utilized?

The article makes some very important third party statements and the obvious is that it is critical that Health care AND Education is improved.  Definitely worth a read for those interested in Africa.  LINK IS HERE


Red Nose Day

It is a British thing that got its way over to the USA. So far raising a billion dollars and now after the premier on NBC $21-million for children's poverty. It is my hope that one day shoe4africa could be considered as a recipient yet there is a few reasons why the chances are slim. An obvious one is we have spent $0 on marketing and PR - that immediately sets us apart from the list https://www.rednoseday.org/charities Another is you can't grasp shoe4africa in a couple of sentences, and you can't find what we do on the website. New branding, it is the plan. Whether it leads to a red nose, or not, will be explored! Currently seeking the help & advice of Peter @ www.farago.com
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