Toby's Blog

Shoe4Africa Online

We are partnering, as mentioned in an earlier blog post, with Running on the wall and they have produced Gifts for runners and are doing a series of virtual races... their Father's Day race, which will support Shoe4Africa is coming soon - check out the link for all items HERE

Check out this beautiful T shirt to wear off the running track!

Thanks to Alex & Melianna for this great initiative!

Stopping the import of used shoes (temporarily?)

Moving on from 'Just Shoes'.

We have always been more than Shoes... in fact today Shoe4Africa is better known as developing and building East & Central Africa's 1st Public Children's Hospital, and building public schools.  We're supporting with books, medical equipment, buildings, infrastructure, jobs, training, scholarships, schools, toilets, classrooms, and more...

Kenya is increasing taxes dramatically.  "Old" running shoes have now had an unfair increase in levy.  Each pair is costing $10 Tax clearance at the Post Office.
We are temporarily halting importing used running shoes to Kenya.
The local officials are fully aware of Shoe4Africa's long 20-year old record of assisting and handing out used running shoes to the community yet to date they are insisting that we must continue to pay tax.
Considering the postal price of sending shoes to Kenya, the new 'high' import tax, the cost of hosting a free running race event*, printing free t shirts, refreshments and prizes at our shoe handouts we need a 'time out' to reboot and re-think. *(All our running events are free, we never charge an entry fee despite giving out free t shirts, refreshments, prizes, and shoes!)
We have informed the local authorities that this new high tax will mean the ladies, athletes and the kids, will not receive the gently used shoes yet as of now they are not appearing to change their stance.
Shoe4Africa will continue to assist and help, concentrating still on Health & Education.  There is so much we need to do in this department - equipping of the hospital, building the playgrounds, occupational therapy and more! Our motto of A Step Forward is the 'shoe' of 4Africa.  The shoe was the beginning... we continue to move forward!

The kitchen is a coming

just about 50-meters from the hospital we now have this structure that will be cooking up a storm and changing the way we get food to the kids at the hospital.  Instead of bringing foods from the next door Moi Referral we will be sourcing from our own Eat & Run kitchen named such by a bunch of energetic German kids who have truly stepped up for Africa; the Grandl kids!

We plan to open at the end of July... before launching into our next project.  The work is there, the will is there; let's get it done.

Barselius Kipyego

In 2008 CNN came to do a feature on a running race where we gave out Shoes.  This race was only a couple of months after the horrific violence that rocked Kenya following the Presidential elections.  Shoe4Africa Ambassadors Martin Lel and Robert Cheruiyot came to start the race, Sammy Wanjiru was supposed to come but sent apologies - these three were the Olympic Marathon team for Kenya 2008.  Sammy would go on to win Gold, and Martin (although beating Sammy about fourth months earlier in the London Marathon) faded to 5th.  Robert was injured and had to be replaced in the team.

The feature was Shoes - and David McKenzie, the CNN reporter, highlighted school boy Barselius Kipyego, in the 3-minute film. He was running to try and win some shoes (which he did).  The name Barselius stuck in my mind and last week I noticed the name posted by the 2 Running club - Barselius had just finished in #2 in the Prague Marathon clocking a world class 59:30 - he has arrived.

Barselius being interviewed by CNN back in 2008

Social Media... snags

The world of charity has changed.  I was inspired, as a youngster, by a lady whose name I do not even know.  She was the mum of a friend called Diane Taylor.  Diane's mum worked for a charity.  She was unemployed, had no money and worked like crazy for a 'Bucket shop' charity that if my memory served me right "did work in India".

Although I was inspired this was not the path that I wanted to take; not at all.

Facebook has a way of alerting you to stuff that you don't notice.  I was somewhat embarrassed to read a nice post someone had made when reviewing Shoe4Africa - Phillip Orlando Jones from Texas and his daughter Phyl'zan had sent shoes to Kenya.  I had not responded, for two years.  I had totally missed the post.

Two days ago was April Fools day.  A charity with a paid staff of over 70-employers who fund raise here in New York, then look for charities in poorer parts of the world (like Africa), and then they give those charities (most of whom are American charities) the money to do the work for them poked fun by posting a picture of a retro looking webpage they had made as an April 1st joke  and putting 'No matter how bad this page looks 100% of your funds will directly fund water projects'.

My first thought was if they actually did the work that I thought this charity does by visiting their sleek and slick website they would probably need a staff of 150, my second thought was if they are just vetting charities and donating money why wouldn't they just recommend that YOU (the donor) give the money directly to the charities that they are supporting... (for example they donate to Team World Vision; a very well known, respected, and a great charity, or Concern worldwide - another well known charity).

The only problem is that Team World Vision also has a full staff, and offices.  Is it any wonder that "an estimated 50% of all donations to Africa stay in America" (read this on the Internet).

So going back to Phillip.  I missed his post because instead a team of 74 or 75 I have a staff of one.  Not only that but this staff member works 50% of the time in America and 50% of the time in Africa.  When this charity, for a better term', does a project in Africa - We do it. We don't donate your donations to another organization that has its own overheads.  If we did we would have that social media person, that videographer, that PR person, that in-house designer, that assistant to the assistant.... god forbid maybe a web designer.

We will never be the charity that has a big team working in the United States, but hopefully we will be the charity that does the work and doesn't spend donated money on paying another charity to go and do the work.  I guess the good thing about this world is there is room for all types of organizations, like Diane's mum.

However an observation to note is that charities that focus on 'Raising Awareness and funds' (especially in a city like NY) and not doing the actual work (in Africa/India) are the charities that will be more successful in terms of plain fund raising.  Begging the question, going back, would I have advised Diane's mum to have done things differently?  Would I advise anyone else now going into charity to do things differently? Julia Obermeier

Great news from our chapter in Munich, Michael writes, "Julia is a member of the the German parliament (CSU) in Berlin."  She'll be joining in the 5k coming in June.  If you speak German check out the youtube for Julia's great shoutoutLINK is HERE

Holland and the Run-Way Blog

Always super happy when people write nice blogs about Shoe4Africa.  Even when they are in Dutch and I can't understand the language.  Great name for a blog - the run way girls!  Run (and written) by two ladies, one of whom, Erlinde, came to Kenya to the HATC in Iten.

And the blog is readable here - LINK

Newletter 2016 - First quarter

We are a little slow on the newsletters front.  Blame it down onto a staffing issue.  If we had the staff we would have the snappy newsletter (rule #1 how to spot a charity with funds), in the meantime please take a browse at our very basic free version of mailchimp with drag, drop and paste actions to being you ta-ran-ta-raa!

Click on the link to take you to a new window - click here

Expect our second later this year in the summer and who knows one day, maybe one day...

Aces for Africa

Press release:
We are a non-profit that seeks to provide better health and education outcomes in eastern Africa. In addition to opening four schools and providing numerous programs related to AIDS awareness and Women's empowerment, we also opened eastern Africa's first public pediatric hospital in 2015. In a region where one in eight kids are dying before their 5th birthday and 2/3rds perish from treatable/preventable diseases, providing robust health resources in coordination with the community is critical. Please join us as we embark on our next project!
The Tournament takes place on Monday May 16th with passed Hors D 'Oeuvres, Beer and Wine from 6:30 to 8:30 PM and Tennis Matches that will begin promptly at 7:30 PM.
If you would like to participate in the tennis matches, a $250 donation is required to secure a spot.   Event attendance for non-players requires a $50 donation.

Belgium Blessings

Thanks to Frank Bollen, Manuela Soccol, Ruben & Dorien for bringing loads of shoes to give out to the kids at the Shoe4Africa Hospital this month.  It was wonderful to see how surprised and happy the kids were when they were given running shoes before they got their daily checkup.  This is a long run of help from our Belgian friends who are frequent visitors to Eldoret Kenya and are also sponsoring a young student with school fees!  Thanks guys

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