HAPS students have sole
HAPS students have sole
Ken McLemore

HOPE – A public service project to provide cut patterns for shoes to be distributed to children in Uganda has resulted in 80 pairs of shoe uppers from the seventh grade students at the Hope Academy of Public Service.

“HAPS has partnered with Sole Hope, a charitable organization created to provide millions of children in Eastern Africa shoes made from recycled denim and plastic jugs,” Principal Dr. Carol Duke said.

She said the seventh graders and their parents gathered in the HAPS Innovation Lab on Jan. 28 for a “shoe cutting party.”

Duke said the project has included students soliciting and providing materials for the shoes, cutting the materials according to pattern, and raising funds to pay for shipping the completed shoe uppers to Uganda.

“Our students, staff and families raised over $125 to pay for shipping the shoe uppers to Uganda for the tailors and shoemakers to complete the shoes for distribution to needy children,” she said. “HAPS will now mail the assembled shoe uppers to the Sole Hope offices in North Carolina.”

Duke said Sole Hope is a non-profit organization established to provide shoes and employment in the East African nation.

“Asher Collie, founder of Sole Hope, was moved to create this movement after watching a YouTube video that showed African children who were seriously infected with jiggers, small sand fleas that enter bare feet and burrow into the skin,” she said. “If left untreated, jiggers become a huge problem, leading to infections, paralysis, amputation, and in some cases, death.”

The patterned shoe uppers are turned into completed pairs of shoes by Ugandan shoemakers.

“Tailors and shoemakers are employed by Sole Hope to complete the process of making the shoes that will then be distributed to children in need,” Duke said. “These employees are learning a skill and earning money to house and feed their families.”

She said the project is an example of the public service component which each student at HAPS must complete in conjunction with his or her parents.

“As with all our public service activities, this partnership with Sole Hope exemplifies our campus motto of ‘One Community, One Family, One World,’ Duke said.

Duke invited parents and community residents to learn more about HAPS by contacting her at carolann.duke@hpsdistrict.org online, or by visiting the HAPS campus at 601 W. Sixth St.