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Volunteers prepare to send 100,000 pairs of shoes to Kenya

Volunteers prepare to send 100,000 pairs of shoes to Kenya

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) More than five hundred volunteers in New Taipei on Saturday helped to clean, pack and move some 100,000 pairs of secondhand shoes that will be shipped to Kenya to help prevent infections caused by chigoe fleas. The volunteers, including teachers and students of the city's National Overseas Chinese Experimental Senior High School (????), collected the shoe donations through an online campaign called "Old Shoes Save Lives." The campaign was initiated last April by an English teacher in Taoyuan with the aim of supplying about 5,000 households in Kitale, Kenya with shoes to protect their feet from parasitic chigoe fleas (??), also known as jiggers, which burrow into the soles of bare human feet and lay eggs, causing infections. The efforts by Yang Yu-jen (???), 27, proved so successful that he received 14, 000 pairs of shoes in the first few weeks, and the first shipment arrived last September in Kitale, an area some 1,900 meters above sea level and about 390 km northwest of Nairobi. Yang said his father-in-law, a Canadian missionary who helped drill wells and build schools in Kenya, told him that most people in the area cannot afford to buy shoes and have been plagued by jiggers, a parasitic arthropod found in most tropical and sub-tropical climates. The second shipment of shoes was sent off last December and the campaign has continued to gather steam, with a volunteer service club at National Overseas Chinese Experimental Senior High School becoming one of the groups involved. Club member Yang Shu-ching said the school, with the administrators' consent, has become a donation center in northern Taiwan and has collected 100,000 pairs of secondhand shoes. On Saturday, the volunteers unpacked the shoes, sorted them into pairs for men, women and children and repacked them for shipping, according to another club member Huang Yun-lien. In Kenya, the shoes will be donated to people like the woman Yang described after his trip to Kenya last November. He said she had not worn shoes for nine years and the smile on her face when she put on a pair from Taiwan was priceless. That smile made him far happier than the woman, he said. (By Sunrise Huang, Elizabeth Hsu and Kuo Chung-han)


Updated : 2021-09-23 15:22 GMT+08:00