Sole Hope: Your Old Jeans Can Save Kids’ Lives

Sole Hope: Your Old Jeans Can Save Kids' Lives

I know that we love to turn our old jeans into quilts and skirts and potholders and tote bags, but the organization Sole Hope has an even better use for them: They save kids' lives.

I know that we love to turn our old jeans into quilts and skirts and potholders and tote bags, but the organization Sole Hope has an even better use for them: They save kids’ lives.

This was news to me, but in Uganda, where kids walk barefoot, there apparently also lives a horrible parasite, the jigger. This parasite lays eggs in kids’ feet, giving the bottoms of their feet open sores and putting them at risk for all kinds of infections and debilitations. These kids can’t walk without pain. They certainly can’t run and play. They certainly can’t go to school or help out their families.

That doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend one’s childhood.

Sole Hope, however, heals these kids, and they use old jeans to do it.

What you do is buy a shoe-cutting party kit from the organization, then you invite all your friends and instruct them to bring ALL their old jeans. Use the patterns in the kit to cut out a bunch of shoes, mail them back, and the shoemaking team (scroll down to find them) will complete the process of making children’s shoes from your jeans.

Sole Hope removes the jiggers from the kids’ feet, educates them about prevention, and gives them a pair of these shoes to wear to keep their feet safe from now on. You can continue to make shoes for the organization, or send back the patterns to be re-used for other shoe-cutting parties.

There are a lot of things that I really like about Sole Hope:

  • Sole Hope is a religious organization, but they assure me that they do not proselytize (full disclosure: I’m an atheist, and I don’t support charities that proselytize. Feel free to yell at me in the Comments below).
  • The organization utilizes something that is genuine waste on our part to create something that is genuinely useful. That is the gold-standard definition of green crafting.
  • The shoes look NICE! The team of professionals that finishes the job makes all the difference in giving these kids shoes that are lovely and sturdy.
  • Support for Sole Hope also seems to support local economies, utilizing Ugandan leadership and staff.

So while I don’t think that anybody should cease their own personal production of denim quilts, skirts, potholders, tote bags, and many more very impractical things, I do think that this particular use for unwanted denim should be a part of every person’s to-do list.

Because kids who can run and play? That’s definitely worth crafting for.

Photo credit: Sole Hope image via Jamie Ivey

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. Thank you for doing the legwork to find out about the proselytizing. I try not to support organizations who tie conversion to aid.

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