Hope for ‘sole’ goes a long way; embrace the cause

An old pair of jeans can help a poor “sole.” Richland College and other DCCCD campuses, in conjunction with Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) and student clubs are partnering in a unique service learning project in support of the endeavors of Sole Hope International.

The goal is to make shoes from recycled jeans and tire tread for children in Uganda to help fight a parasitic infection called “jiggers.” Students and volunteers can assist by donating clean recycled jeans at the library, bookstore, Office of Student Life, Honors College or division offices.

“When we heard about this organization (Sole Hope) we thought this is a real opportunity for us as a community to come together in support,” said Santiago Torres, president of Achieving Latino Academic Success (ALAS). The student club is donating $500 to ship materials to Uganda. 

Countries in Africa, Central and South America are host to an endemic, debilitating infestation known as “jiggers.” Left untreated, the parasitic infestation can cause secondary infections such as bacteremia, tetanus and gangrene. As a remedy, SoleHope.org is “offering hope, healthier lives and freedom from foot-related diseases through education, jobs and medical relief,” according to their website. 

“The jean upper part of the shoes will be cut by RLC students, staff and faculty volunteers here at Richland and shipped to Uganda,” said Torres. Upon arrival, the shoes will then be assembled by Ugandans who benefit from a sustainable income to provide for their families. Sole Hope then distributes the shoes free of charge to children as part of the program.

Volunteers can participate at one of the upcoming Jean Cutting Parties on the Richland campus, this Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Richland Cafeteria and again Friday, March 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The March 3 location will be announced. For more information about the organization, visit SoleHope.org.