I’m sure most of you have heard of TOMS shoes–I mean, its a pretty popular shoe brand. Some of you may even own a pair or two, but I wonder how many actually know what the brand is about and what it stands for. I had a pretty vague idea. Well, I knew that it was centered around the idea of “ONE for ONE”–for every pair you buy, they’ll be giving another pair to a person in need. But that was it. I didn’t know where they were giving Toms shoes, or whether they would be giving the exact pair I bought to that person in need of shoes (haha I know, then they would have to find a girl with size 8 feet, right). Of course, I thought the idea was brilliant, but there was somehow a disconnect as I didn’t know the facts, nor have I seen a shoe giving event before.
I recently met with the distributors of TOMS in the Philippines (they’re the people behind Nothing but H20 and SWIM Designer Swimwear) and found out this idea is way bigger than I ever imagined it to be. It all started with American traveler Blake Mycoskie in 2006 when during a trip to a village in Argentina he noticed the children he befriended had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS (short for “Tomorrow’s shoes”), a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. The idea was called (yes, you guessed it) One for One. Realizing this movement could serve other basic needs, TOMS Eyewear was launched. With every pair purchased, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need. One for One. Since its launch, it has helped restore sight in 13 countries, to more than 150,000 individuals around the world. TOMS has also given 10 million pairs of shoes to children in need–this encompasses 60 countries, and ultimately, the shoes did more than just protect feet. Shoes helped improve school attendance and enrolment. And because the shoes are produced in areas where they give them, it creates and supports jobs in places where they are needed. What a company.
TOMS is currently giving pairs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Argentina, China and now, the Philippines. It has given 50,000 pairs of shoes to the Philippines through NGO partners such as Salesian Missions, Children International, Feed the Children and Operation Blessing. And in the aftermath of Yolanda, TOMS shoes have been positioned with giving partners responding to the typhoon. I was lucky enough to be at the latest shoe giving event which was at Tagaroroc Elementary School in Caticlan. The school was hit by the recent typhoon and was damaged along with the few structures in the area. The event was incredibly heartwarming and moving–to be able to give something as basic as shoes to children who don’t even own a pair is just such a beautiful thing. I’m glad I was able to experience this, and be part of this rewarding event.
The children lined up to meet us. They were so sweet, they all waved and smiled at us, and gave us a heartfelt welcome.
Tagarococ Elementary School, Aklan.
The kids wait for the program to start.
I had a little chat with Tagaroroc’s teachers. They were the nicest.
Snuck a peek into one of their classrooms.
Fellow bloggers also at the event: Nicole Andersson and Laureen Uy.
TOMS shoes to be given to the little kids.
Aren’t they cute? They came in metallic pink, purple, silver and black.
These were the ones given away to the older kids. They come in black.
Basic things like Band-Aids were also given to the kids.
And a bar of soap to each kid.
Laureen lines the kids up for shoe giving.
Nicole and Laureen organize the pairs of shoes to be given.
Fashion blogger Camille Co was also there–she washed the kids’ feet before they were given TOMS shoes.
Happy kids wearing their sparkly TOMS shoes.
They were also given a bag of school essentials, like caps, shirts, etc.
These ladies pose with their new TOMS shoes.
I was so happy to meet these kids. They were so friendly and nice.
These happy girls were on their way home and wanted a photo.
#OneforVisayas! So happy to be part of this event.
After the shoe giving event, we were allowed a little R&R at Boracay.
TOMS is available at Nothing But H20 branches, Swim Designer Swimwear, The Give Project branches, Adora, Shoe Salon branches, Jump branches, Rustan’s branches, Trilogy Boutique and Canteen.