Your Gift of Shoes Brings Dignity and Hope

12/13/12

Clement proudly holds up his new shoes and grins widely.  "I don't take this for granted," he says.  "I have never had better shoes." 

 
In fact, there was a time when Clement didn't have shoes at all.  "I used to walk barefoot to and from school, church, and the market," he remembers. "My school was more than two miles when I used to walk every day without shoes.  It was very hard for me during summer when the sun would burn too much."
 
But the worst part was not the walk.  It was arriving at school with blistered, tired feet, and being asked to leave.  At the school Clement used to walk to, shoes were required, whether you could afford them or not.  "I was chased out of class because I didn't have shoes," he says.  "It was very shameful for me being chased out of class because my family couldn't manage to buy me shoes."  
 
When Children of the Nations (COTN) began partnering with the village of Chirombo, Malawi, to help impoverished parents like Clement’s provide for their children, many things changed for Clement.  He no longer had to worry about food each day, as a daily nutritious meal was provided for him. He also received school supplies, clothes, and all the basic supplies he needed to do well in school.  COTN–Malawi staff provided spiritual support and guidance for Clement—he began learning about Jesus and attending church.  He knew his schooling would not end at eighth grade as it so often does for children in Malawi, where secondary school is not free.  
 
But some of the changes came from simple items we so often take for granted.  For Clement, receiving a pair of shoes was a meaningful moment.  Not only did this pair of shoes mean the end of long, painful, barefoot walks, it was the beginning of dignity, and the promise of a hopeful future.  
 
It's all because of people like you that children like Clement are able to have shoes.  Especially at Christmas time, when so many partners sacrifice presents in order to give these small, meaningful gifts to children like Clement, you make it possible for thousands of shoes and other necessities to be delivered to the children COTN serves.
 
Clement remembers the shame of having no shoes. Now that he has them, he grins and says, "I am looking like my friends."  Putting on shoes felt better than he could have imagined.  "I didn't know it felt so comfortable to put on shoes!" he admits.
 
Clement is no longer embarrassed or ashamed, thanks to your gift of shoes.  But to him, the shoes you provide for him are just one way you are opening up opportunities for him to complete his education, achieve his dreams, and bring transformation to his nation.  "Without shoes, my studies at school can be affected, and therefore I would not be able to realize my dream of becoming a farm manager." Clement explains.  "It is only when you have a better education that you can achieve all that you aim for.  And without basic needs, you cannot perform well at school."  Clement pauses as he ponders all the ways this simple gift has changed his life. "Without shoes," he concludes, "I wouldn't enjoy my school the way I am enjoying now!"
 
This Christmas, give gifts that change lives, like shoes!  Shop COTN's Gift Catalog to find meaningful gifts that will help children in need like Clement.