Sandals are “Good for the Sole”…

Saving 10,000 soles…

Leprosy makes each step a dangerous move. Without proper care, a person with leprosy can become disabled or even lose their mobility completely.

Something as simple as a pair of sandals can help protect families from poverty and despair. That is why the Church of Ireland dioceses of Meath and Kildare has launched its Good For The Sole Project to buy 10,000 pairs of sandals in Karigiri in Tamil Nadu, India. The diocesan project, in partnership with The Leprosy Mission Ireland and Bishops’ Appeal, will raise €25,000 over this coming year.

Bishop Pat Storey (Meath and Kildare) launched Good For The Sole at a special event held in Wilson’s Hospital School, Mullingar. The project is inspired by the desire to fight leprosy and the poverty that accompanies it. The launch was attended by clergy and representatives from every parish in the dioceses.

Bishop Pat said, “Most of us think leprosy is a disease only in Biblical times. In Meath and Kildare we were shocked to learn that every two minutes someone in the world hears they have leprosy. It is a sad fact that hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with the disease every year, and that it brings poverty in its wake”. Leprosy is prevalent in the poorest countries in the world.

One of the effects of leprosy is often damage to a person’s feet. The disease causes them to lose sensitivity in this area, making the individual more prone to injury. The Leprosy Mission has been involved in developing a cost-effective sandal that can protect the wearer from such harm.

One pair of sandals can be manufactured and distributed at a cost of €2.50.

Ken Gibson, Chief Executive of The Leprosy Mission Ireland, explained the difference a simple pair of sandals can make. He said, “If a leprosy sufferer is a breadwinner in their home the resulting damage to their feet can prevent them earning to feed and educate their family. A pair of sandals that prevents injury can allow that person to remain in work, to feed their family and educate their children”.

Lydia Monds, Education Adviser for the Bishops’ Appeal, said “It is not just important what we give, but how we give it”. In other words is about finding a way of giving that makes the maximum amount of difference. Good For The Sole is designed to do just that.

Every church and school in the dioceses has received its own Good For The Soul shoebox. It contains a pair of sandals, posters and material about how they can be part of the drive to raise €25,000 to buy 10,000 pairs of sandals. Each church and as many of the schools as possible will join the effort to reach the target in the next year and pledges have already started to come in.

As Bishop Pat Storey says, “Its not just feet that Meath and Kildare are working together to protect. Sandals can protect whole families from poverty – that is why we are doing this”.

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