A very entertaining — and apt — idea over at the cleverly named development blog Good Intentions Are Not Enough:
It’s time again for TOMS Shoes’ annual advertisement (awareness raising activity) called A Day Without Shoes. Every year TOMS gets celebrities and college students to walk around barefoot so that they are more aware of the plight of people without shoes. And of course, what better way to put shoes onto the feet of these shoeless people than to purchase a pair of TOMS Shoes.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m not a fan of this annual event. So this year I’m proposing a counter-campaign called A Day Without Dignity.
On or around April 5th — the same date as A Day Without Shoes – we’re asking aid workers, the diaspora, and people from areas that receive shoe drops and other forms of charity to speak up in blogs, on twitter, or at school.
Shoes are not the problem. I can speak pretty confidently when I say people I meet in Malawi (like people I meet in the United States) want jobs, they want education for their children, they want healthcare, they want the autonomy to make decisions for themselves and their families — but what they don’t need is a bunch of shoes (and the wasteful overhead costs that come with shipping a bunch of shoes).
I have seen a particularly fashionable friend of mine work it with a super cute pair of gold sparkly Toms. Maybe drop the ineffective and patronizing foreign aid, keep the fabulous glitter?