Elementary School Students Turn Jeans Into Shoes to Help Those in Need

A group of elementary school students from Clinton, Iowa, are turning used jeans into protective footwear for residents of Uganda.

The Clinton Herald reports that Bluff Elementary School is working with the Sole Hope organization to provide more than 200 pairs of shoes to Ugandans suffering from parasitic insects known as jiggers, or sand fleas.

On March 23, Bluff Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders will use donated denim to cut patterns that will later be used to produce shoes.

“Right now, it looks like we’re well on our way to being able to provide more than 200 pairs of shoes,” school counselor and event organizer Lavina Engle told the Herald. “The students watched a video associated with Sole Hope, and they couldn’t imagine not having a pair of shoes to wear all the time. The fact that they could help other kids just like them, that’s an idea that the students really attached to.”

According to Sole Hope, jiggers are parasites that burrow into feet and lay eggs. The eggs later multiply and destroy soft tissue, leaving the wounds vulnerable to infection and diseases.

“Jiggers are not like any other parasite,” said a Sole Hope spokesperson. “The health implications and social stigma that comes with them is crippling to those affected. We believe there is hope for the problem of jiggers in Uganda, and the way Sole Hope makes a difference is by helping the ‘next two feet’ at a time become jigger-free and remain that way.”

Added Engle, “The kids loved this option because it allows them to show that they’re accepting and ready to help all people, no matter where they may be.”

For more information on Sole Hope, visit solehope.org.

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