One Girl’s Collection, Another Woman’s Treasure
At Soles4Souls, the majority of the work we do would be impossible without volunteers.
Suriya & Surina Gadh, twin sisters from Miami, Florida, have collected 5,214 pairs over the last two years for Soles4Souls and fundraised over $2,000. Shoe drives like theirs support our micro-enterprise program, which supplies gently used shoes to business owners in developing countries so they can sell them and earn a living for their families.
All of their donated shoes are directly sent to countries like Haiti and Honduras. Many of the recipients are women, like Jwanise and Ginette, two friends from Haiti.
When Jwanise was first introduced to the micro-enterprise program back in 2012, her family had just been evicted from their home and they were living in a structure built of scrap metal, wood and cinder blocks with dirt floors. Today, she is far along in building her own home, and can support her family with food, education and shelter.
After the earthquake in 2010, most of the adequate and affordable housing was diminished in Haiti, leaving millions of people displaced. For Ginette and her family, that meant living in a small makeshift shed with her husband and four boys.
“It was extremely difficult. My kids had a tough time going to school and my husband was unable to work for a very long time,” she said.
But now, years later, after receiving pairs of shoes that come from volunteers like Suriya and Surina, Ginette lives in her own home and sends all of her boys to school.
“Women like myself are really able to regain control of their lives,” she said.
There are two stories in this– and two realities. One story is knowing that there will always be food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in; the other is the story of waking up every day fighting for what so many are simply privileged to have. Through selling shoes, and Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise program, it makes that fight easier for women like Jwanise and Ginette, but without volunteers like Suriya and Surina, none of it would be possible.