Shining Shoes for a Causehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/shining-shoes-for-a-cause/

Shining Shoes for a Cause

Old and worn out sports shoes may not exactly be a source of inspiration for many,but Mumbaikar Karishma Gupte,an enterprising 22-year-old,begs to differ.

This 22-year-old has launched a drive to collect old sports shoes that she will pass on to municipal school students

Old and worn out sports shoes may not exactly be a source of inspiration for many,but Mumbaikar Karishma Gupte,an enterprising 22-year-old,begs to differ. Gupte along with a team of volunteers is leading a unique shoe collection drive to ‘collect and gift’ sports shoes to underprivileged youngsters in an effort to promote ‘sports and a healthy lifestyle’ in society.

“The idea of collecting old shoes and donating them to the poor is very common in countries like the US and Africa. The concept is not only environment friendly but will also help people pursue sports,” said Wadala resident Gupte.

Finding her ‘true calling’ in this novel idea,Gupte even gave up a lucrative job with a leading advertising agency to concentrate on making the drive a success. “Very often children and grown ups from poor families cannot pursue sports simply for want of shoes. I had seen children playing barefoot or wearing slippers. I had also noticed that people like us usually buy new shoes when the old ones wear out. In case of children,they usually outgrow their shoes and old shoes are simply thrown away,” Gupte observed.

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Then,after interactions with municipal schools,colleges and some NGOs,‘Footprints: A Step Forward’ was born. What followed next were meetings and discussions with like-minded individuals.

Gupte eloborated on the carefully thought out campaign: It will include not just collecting and donating shoes as they are but will also look at thoroughly fixing and sanitizing those that need to be worked upon before giving them away. Gupte said,“The first phase of the drive will comprise collecting shoes,the second will focus on repairing them by stitching and cleaning and sanitising them. In the third phase,we will give away the shoes to municipal schools and NGOs.”

In fact,the avid social worker is already in talks with a few cobblers for the repair work,thus providing them additional income,and also in touch with shoe laundries around the city to get the ‘best deal’ for carrying out sanitization.

The collection drive is spread over three Sundays (July 19,July 26 and August 2) at three locations: Juhu Beach (Opposite Cafe Mocha),Shivaji Park (Next to Shivaji Park Gymkhana),Marine Drive (Opposite Not Just Jazz by The Bay). Volunteers will be at the locations with cartons from 7. 30 to 11 am on all the days to collect used/unused shoes.

“At the moment,volunteers consist of friends and family members. However,a lot of college students have shown their interest to be part of this. Anybody is welcome to join us,” Gupte said. The group is looking at achieving a target of 200 shoes and is looking for support. You can either gift your own pair of old sport shoes,volunteer to collect shoes or help by funding the project.