Toby's Blog

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Hero Mike Wilesmith 2016

Mike Wilesmith - a hero for Shoe4africa, came to Kenya a few years ago with wife Kate, ended up not only bringing Kenyans back to run, but also fund raising for Shoe4Africa.  He is at it again, not only fund raising funds for us but he also pledged his WINNINGS if he won the race (or won prize money) and he did!  Wonderful story of a man caring about a public children's hospital in another continent far off from where he is living!  Thank you Mike!  He becomes the first islander to ever win the marathon!

New Times - (second hand shoes)

As Kenya and East Africa moves towards the trend of banning the import of secondhand clothing, and shoes, in 2019 to fall in with the agreement signed to promote the local work trade we wonder what will happen to the thousands of Kenyan runners who rely on the (gently) used Nike, Adidas, Saucony, Asics, Mizuno and New Balance Shoes.  Thousands of runners rely on donations and also the secondhand goods market.  It seems bizarre that a country that is famous for running should not make a clause to separate sports shoes from this deal because the fact is no Kenyan tailor is making running shoes to date!  So what is going to happen?

It could be a god send for a small New York/Kenya company called 'Enda' that is starting to make shoes in the far east but claiming that in the future their shoes 'could' be made in Kenya.  Although I wish the best of luck to these two people, whom I have met, in all reality I don't think I am wrong in saying that in the next ten years this will not happen.  The beautiful 'Lornah Sports' company have tried to produce running 'clothes' that can be sold on a global market in Kenya and not managed, thus the truth of the matter is that Kenyan runners are going to have a problem... plus that the huge vast majority would not be able to afford these newly manufactured shoes costing more than most people earn for two months.

However for Shoe4Africa this is a timely happening; we have moved away from 'Shoes' and although the charity was started giving away Shoes the main purpose was to help and support HEALTH + EDUCATIONAL issues (with shoes being one element that fitted inside that docket).

Shoe4Africa is not about giving shoes; it is about one shoe that was lost in Africa in an event that spurred the start of a movement - now we are just needing a better way to market that.  Having a Shoe in the name of this charity does sometimes hinder us... the Shoe is a the Step Forward, the Step Up...

Also for us this was a very costly part of our program, importing shoes, paying taxes (all secondhand goods are taxed in Kenya), and holding events to give out the shoes {costing thousands of dollars as all events are free, T shirts, Shoes, prize money, refreshments, bib numbers etc} Thus this means more money is going to our core projects - the hospital and our schools.

August 2016 - second Newsletter


Our second newsletter of 2016 is here.... please email us if you want to be added to the list.  Click on the picture to read, or any problems,

La France d'Shoe

Old Days... 2001

This is how 'Shoe4Africa' used to operate when it was 'all about the shoes'. Basically we had zero operating costs, everything was done in my apartment. Boxes would be stored there with shoes, then when the room go too crowded I would carry the boxes up the road to the post office and post them off... I had about three friends who would sometimes help with cash to offset the postage costs. So I would send them the receipts (on a card) for the amount the postage added up to... I did not want the 'charity' (project is a better word) to grow. The more it grew the more shoes I had to transport and pay for... I just wanted to do my part. In those days I did not have a dream about Schools, Hospitals or the such....  this was back in 2001. Then some things happened, as they always do.

NBA Finals.... or Alex Sweeney!

In America we've just had the NBA finals, but the great news for us was the tournament our new friend Alex put on for us, out West.

Alex Sweeney is our basketball hero for raising $1,200 in his basketball fundraiser, he had hoops and games, a parent and teacher game, free throws and more - we wish we could have attended!  This great initiative was dreamed up by Alex and he even roped in his mother, Amy Sweeney, to donate the food from her restaurant AMMO

Alex is a hero who makes this happen, and we thank him and the 60-odd people who attended to make this day such a great success.

Virtual race... the ace way if you can't make it in person

Virtual races - courtesy of Running on the wall. If you can't make it to run with us on race day, run with us virtually! That's right, the virtual race will allow you to run at anytime and at any you will get this awesome special made for Shoe4Africa running swag. All fees from the Shoe4Africa virtual race will benefit our cause. Both races offer great swags and prizes at very affordable price. Register for one or both Shoe4Africa races! Check out the how to and register here for virtual races

A trip to Tenino!

Today we drove out to Tenino, WA, to visit teacher Noreen and her class of kids who have been doing a Kenya project.  Here's Ronin (who is 8yrs old on July 3rd) with an 'electrical' display that lights up of the animals of Kenya. 

As teacher Noreen (above right) explains the animals are often a gateway into the country.  Ronin stayed behind to ask some questions about Shoe4Africa, and I was honored to see that the class had a powerpoint that brought up some really weighty issues - I liked the highlighting of the lack of Public kids hospitals in Sub Saharan Africa.

Thanks to Noreen Ryckman, a 2nd Grade Teacher at Parkside Elementary, Tenino, for putting together the Lean About Kenya project... we got there three days before term finished YET she is not quickly getting to work to get the class kids to makes some Get Well Soon cards for the kids!

Kenyans for Kenyans 2016

Team member Harish Menon is lacing up his shoes to help Team Shoe4Africa in November to committing to run the TCS New York City Marathon.  But we also want Harish on the Ragnar Relay Team with Nick Symmonds!  Why not.  Please consider voting for Harish to help us.  If you are on facebook it is just one click (no sign ups).

Harish with then embark on a 200-mile relay with a 12-person team.  Harish is leading; please give him a push!  LINK

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