“My whole life I never had the opportunity to have shoes, I felt so happy! –Monika , age 14
My group spent the last four days interviewing school children in Indian government schools about shoes. Let me tell you, when a 13 or 14 year old child tells you the shoes they received 6-8 months ago are the first pair they have ever owned, it is difficult to know what to say in response. As a child do you remember a time when you did not have access to shoes? Did it ever even cross your mind?
Jude, Mike, and I worked with Hand of Hope organization in Hyderabad. Hand of Hope is responsible for distributing TOMS shoes throughout the region. For all of you who have a pair or know TOMS, we just had the opportunity to witness how the One for One program is implemented on the ground. We went into government schools in the area and talked to kids about their experience with TOMS. They told us about the fit, quality, why they believe wearing shoes is important, as well as, their hopes for their future. In return, we provided Hand of Hope with our preliminary research findings and new ideas for assessment tools, education tools to link health to wearing shoes, and some mock up marketing concepts to help Hand of Hope continue their mission.
Hand of Hope staff opened their doors, shared information, set-up our site visits, fed us, and gave us feedback on our presentations. Everyone from our interpreter, Krishna Reddy, a doctoral candidate from the Institute of Management Technology, to our driver, Khadir, helped guide us through the week so we could obtain as much primary research as possible, to complete our final report back in the U.S. Indian hospitality overwhelmed me once again. Thank you to all who helped make this week happen!