Rotary and Shoes that Grow



PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Assistance Governor Marcellia Henry was approached by Tom Veevers a Past District Governor from District 7640 and his wife Barbara. Barbara has seen a program on Facebook called ‘Shoes that Grow’.  They wanted to help the people here in St. Maarten and thought this was an ideal project.

They applied for a grant to help fund the project and needed to have people here on the island to distribute the shoes.  The Rotary Clubs here on St. Maarten were more than willing to do the job. Things all fell into place when ‘The White Horse Rotary’s application’ for a district simplified grant was approved for one hundred and fifty (150) shoes to be purchased for the area of St. Maarten, St. Martin and Anguilla.

Sometimes, the simplest invention can change millions of lives. That’s the goal of The Shoe That Grows, a sandal invented by inventor Kenton Lee that can adjust its size, allowing children in impoverished nations to grow up without having to go barefoot. The shoes, come in catch-all Small and Large sizes, can grow 5 sizes and last at least 5 years.

According to The Shoe That Grows, “There are over 300 million children who do not have shoes.  And countless more with shoes that do not fit.” Children without shoes are susceptible to injuries and parasites that infect humans through our feet. The problem with ordinary shoe donations are that they are soon outgrown, which is exactly the problem that these new shoes will alleviate.

The original version of The Shoe That Grows is a somewhat open-toed design and sandal-like. This works very well for children in more temperate climates, both dry and wet. For children in areas with cooler seasons, many wear socks with the shoes.

On Saturday, January 20th, some of the sandal-like shoes were distributed by the  Rotary clubs of St. Maarten, Mid Isle and Sunrise to children at ‘The Carnival Village Shelter’.  Then on Monday, January 22nd, some children from the Prins Willem-Alexander School received pairs of shoes.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Nord that also received shoes to distribute donated them to ‘Ass Manteau de Sxm’, an association on St. Martin that cares for homeless children and adults, on Friday, January 19th.

During the course of this week, and next week, the shoes will continue to be distributed to children from various elementary schools on St. Maarten.  The Rotary Club of Anguilla will also deliver shoes to children in Anguilla.