ROWAN is privileged to partner with so many amazing individuals and incredible organizations, all over the world! One of these organizations is Sole Hope, and today I just want to share a little bit about this vital ministry. I was introduced to Sole Hope a little over a year ago when I decided to have a shoe cutting party for my birthday. Dru and Asher Collie are the founders of Sole Hope and are based out of Jinja, Uganda. I was able to visit their guesthouse and learn a bit more about how they operate last summer.
Vision: Offering hope, healthier lives, and freedom from foot-related diseases through education, jobs, and medical relief.
Core Purpose: To effectively put in place preventive methods to combat diseases that enter through the feet and to create a positive physical and spiritual difference in the lives of individuals in impoverished communities.
We believe in addressing the very real and present problems associated with the feet through medical intervention as well as taking preventative physical measures.
We believe that education of the youth and their caretakers is essential for long-term solutions.
We believe in supporting communities and teaching the trade of shoe making. We innovate and demonstrate solutions that combine the best of indigenous and contemporary practice to create sustainable skills and employment.
(information from solehope.org)
There are burrowing sand fleas (called jiggers) in parts of Eastern Africa that can cause many serious health issues if not treated. The founders of this organization were faced with a need and rose to meet the challenge and follow the call to bring hope by finding a tangible way to be the hands and feet of Jesus and show God’s love through action.
I was excited to be able to visit their headquarters in Jinja while I was in Uganda this past summer. They have a lovely compound where they are able to employ locals to manufacture shoes, which they later present to people after removing jiggers to prevent re-infection.
Every week they have several foot washing clinics where they travel to villages to remove jiggers, educate people in proper hygiene and care and present them with a brand new pair of shoes. Often these are the first and only pair of shoes these individuals have ever owned.
But Sole Hope does more than just wash feet and give away shoes. They share God’s love, bring hope, and show these people that they are valued and important.
Our local staff has partnered with Sole Hope and toured their facilities so that we have that resource if an extreme case of jiggers occurs in our area. We also are grateful to have Kelly Powers, who was gracious enough to capture special moments through photography. She works with Sole Hope, and is also the one who took photos for our ROWAN Christmas party. Because of her willingness to volunteer we were able to share those pictures with our supporters, so that they could see the joy on the faces of so many.