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Soles Helping Souls

By Savannah Cooper
On November 7, 2018

An important aspect of Sole Hope's mission is to supply shoes to less fortunate countries.
Photo Courtesy of Sole Hope

Concord’s Bonner program recently set up a fundraiser to help raise money for the Sole Hope organization.

The Bonner program is known for participating in community and global projects. The group comes together to make positive changes in the world. The goal was to raise money that will go towards buying supplies and shoes for individuals living in Uganda.

Sole Hope, a non-profit organization, depends on small groups such as the Bonner program in hopes of raising money and awareness for people in Africa. Funding for the charity goes toward shoes, medical relief, and jobs for the citizens of Uganda.

A major aspect of Sole Hope`s mission is to supply people with new shoes. Solehope.org states, “Thousands of children in Uganda suffer from a crippling foot parasite called jiggers. Through education, medical care, and shoes we aid Ugandan people to become jigger free restoring health and hope for a future.”

Solehope.org defines jigger as being similar to a very small bug – one that can barely be seen by the human eye. When people walk around barefoot, jiggers can latch on to their feet and burrow into their skin. After a few days, the bug will swell in size while rapidly laying eggs. Shortly after, the eggs will hatch and cause infestations in those people.

Not only are the infestations painful, they constrain people from performing everyday tasks. Those affected are unable to do house and yard work, children have trouble walking to school, and parents find it difficult to take care of their families. Since jiggers render the ability to halt everyday life, the bugs are associated with a curse.

Sole Hope aids in treating jiggers by performing medical procedures, spreading education about jiggers, and supplying individuals with shoes. To treat the infestations, the jiggers must be removed through extraction. It could take multiple extractions to fully remove all jiggers, including their egg sacks.

Once the jiggers are gone, Sole Hope fits people for shoes then educates them about the bug to prevent a recurrence. The abundance of help Sole Hope provides is a main reason why Peyton Brown, the leader of the Bonner project, believes this fundraiser is important.

Brown says, “This project will directly impact people in less fortunate countries in Africa. It also impacts those who help to serve by giving them a sense of how they are making a difference, and putting real poverty into perspective for them.”

Brown was in charge of setting up the project. Some of her responsibilities included making signs, handling the money, and gathering supplies. For this specific project, a table was set up in the student center to provide people with information about Sole Hope and to sell raffle tickets for prizes. A raffle ticket would give you a chance to win a gift card to either Shoe Department or Footlocker.

Nathanial Ponce, an education major and Bonner member at Concord, sat at the table and gave out information. He summarized the project by stating, “Our project is sending resources to the African country of Uganda. We don`t simply send the money or old shoes, we get to employ the people of Uganda.”

Although the project did not meet the intended goal, Brown is still very pleased with the results. She says, “This project got our budget off to a pretty okay start. We didn`t meet our original goal, but we also aren’t leaving empty handed. We will definitely be trying again in the future.”

The Bonner program tries to do a project similar to this one each semester. Bonner efforts span from giving back to towns affected by natural disasters all the way to putting shoes on the feet of individuals without.

For more information about Sole Hope, you can visit their website solehope.org. There is detailed information about the work they do to help stop infestations of jiggers. The website includes ways to help and sponsor your own projects. For more information about the Bonner program, contact a Bonner student, Peyton Brown, or visit one of their social media platforms.

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