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OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua

Posted by selektahjohnbrown 
OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
January 04, 2014 12:45AM
Hello Fellow Boardies,

It's been a while, but i still check in to see what y'all are up to every now and again. But honestly, i work too much to get to the internet much anymore. Just wanted to drop a line about a project i started a few years back supplying school shoes for the most impoverished youths in my little town of Santo Tomas, Nicaragua. With the help of a few big hearted individuals (including a good friend that i met on this very board), we have been able to make a difference in the lives of some of my friends here. If any of you wish to participate, or know of someone who might, you can send a check made out to TSTSCA (with Shoe Project in the memo line) to:

PO Box 561
Olympia WA 98507-0561

TSTSCA is a 501c3 organization so all contributions are TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!! Fund peace, not war!!! You can also find out more about TSTSCA and the sister city relationship between Olympia, WA and Santo Tomas, Nicaragua by visiting TSTSCA's webpage: TSTSCA WEBPAGE

A Little About the Project...

In 2011, we put a plan in motion: a project to gift a pair of school shoes for every child at the Comedor Infantil Children's Free Lunch Program at the beginning of the school year. The project is now in its third year and has been a rousing success! To fund the project, we have depended on donations from friends and family, TSTSCA and its supporters, and from community members and cake sales in Santo Tomás. The shoe project idea sprang from a series of conversations with former Comedor Infantil director Rosa Guerrero as to how best use funds to support the kids of the Comedor, who have always had a special place in my heart since my first visit to Santo Tomás in 2001 as part of a student delegation from The Evergreen State College.

In 2011, we were able to help 160 kids from the Comedor Infantil with local, handmade leather school shoes.

In 2012, with the help of TSTSCA we were able to expand that effort to include youth from Los Pipitos-Escuela Hermandad and some other kids from impoverished neighborhoods and distribute 210 pairs of beautiful shoes.

In 2013, we changed the way the youth are selected. With the help of Rosa Aura Segura (Director of the Comedor Infantil - Children's Free Lunch Project), we selected 75 kids from the Comedor Infantil with the most need for the shoes. With the help of Reynita Cabrera and las profesoras from La Escuela Hermandad, we were able to select 10 special needs students from Los Pipitos. In the same manner we were able to collaborate with the director of two schools in Las Lajitas (one of the most impoverished barrios in Santo Tomás - up on the cliffs overlooking the main section of town) to benefit 30 of their most-in-need students. We repeated this process with teachers and directors in two other elementary schools, one in barrio San Jose (another impoverished barrio)and another that serves children who live on the outskirts of town and often travel far (on foot) to attend classes. In this way, we are able to bring the project to areas that haven't benefitted in years past. The total for Shoe Project 2013 was 165 pairs of school shoes.

That's more than 500 pairs of shoes in the last 3 years... and we're just getting warmed up!!!

A Little About the Shoes...

Here in Nicaragua (as elsewhere in Latin America and Africa), China has been very active in donating funds and also securing access to a growing market. For that reason, there are a great number of (relatively) cheap Chinese-made goods available, including shoes. There are also a lot of second-hand and imitation shoes from the USA available for purchase. Of course, neither of these options does much to stimulate the Nicaraguan economy, devastated from so many years of war, exploitation, and neoliberal economic policies.

For that reason, we decided to "go local." The shoes we purchase are locally made, high-quality, hand-made leather shoes with hand-sewn soles. These shoes will last the whole year for most of these kids and will even make great hand-me-downs for the ones that wear them lightly. In addition, this project has been able to generate a solid 3 months of employment for a number of local cobblers each year.

So far we have projected about 170 pairs of shoes, but we are hoping to get enough funds to do at least 50 more!! Each pair of shoes costs approximately $15, so your money can go a long way here. So give $25, give $100, give $500 if you can - give a hand to these youths so that they can study hard and work to achieve their dreams!!

Blessings to all - thanks for reading if you got this far!!!
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
January 04, 2014 02:04AM
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
January 08, 2014 01:50AM
Even though i know all the checks are in the mail, imma bump this one to the top!!! i know that most of you don't know me personally, some not even from this board as it has been a while, but this is legit. This is just the latest project in a 27 year effort at citizen-to-citizen solidarity with folks from the u.s. working to counteract the damaging acts of violence and war conducted by my/your government. Big up all those working for social justice every time!!!
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
January 09, 2014 06:13PM
Respect John....In Berkeley we got homies from Nicaragua and El Salvador who collect decent used shoes (you would be shocked at what people are overjoyed to receive.)
Then the brothers just bring the collected shoes en masse and distribute them through community and family. Just showing a way its done without fundraising, 501c3, or much needed cash. Just got to hit up peeps for stuff they don't even want. We do clothes too. Underground style. BIG UP SAMEWAY JOHN!!!!
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
February 01, 2014 04:41PM
Shoe Project handoff today - 190 pairs of shoes, piñatas, dance contest (no daggering PLEASE!), pin the tail on the burro, etc. Looking forward to a big day with the kids. Thanks for your support - keep on looking out for all our people EVERY time bredrin!! Thanks for the comments Strikkly - get back to those later (spent my limited internet time talking football hahaha)!!!
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
February 02, 2014 03:49PM
Collect at SNWMF this year John.....I would be glad to help. Yeah all the god homies are from Seattle so GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
February 02, 2014 09:01PM
Yeah man, big love and respect to you SJB. Great project that needs to forwarded for Iver. $ on the way. Go hawks!!
Re: OT: Shoe Project in Nicaragua
February 16, 2014 11:27PM
Thanks P... one love as always to you and Jenn... so fun to hang with y'all even if it was just for one night!! Thanks too for the support Strik... We did the lion's share of the shoe handoff last week - BIG success - i'll post pics next week...
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