Two years ago, Dalhousie’s own Kyle Warkentin launched his Shoes for Souls campaign.
After a trip to Kabwe, Zambia with the charitable organization Hands at Work, he noticed a way that he could make a difference: by focusing on the feet.
Shoes for Souls began as a small collection and soon became a large campaign involving the community and a committee of eight volunteers. Arriving at Dalhousie as a nursing student, he continued his work, getting classmates and other Dal students to help out. The result: sending 15,000 shoes to Zambia.
“It’s easy for people to send money to places like Kabwe, but most people don’t know where that money is going to wind up, if it’s even going to reach the people,” he explains. “If it does reach the people, what are they going to do with it? With sending something like shoes, it may not have a long term impact necessarily, but it’s something that people can use immediately and that is what is going to make a difference.”
He also credits his first-hand perspective. “If more people had the opportunity to participate in experiences like I did, I think they would be more inclined to take part in hands on experiences instead of simply sending money to places like Zambia.”
He has hopes to launch the campaign again in the future, only he’ll “organize things a little better,” since the first campaign came together rather quickly.
And while he knows that one charity cannot make all the difference to one town’s situation, it can be a factor in making small, but gradual changes to the moral of the village and the situations of the individuals that live there.
That, he says, is what makes all the difference.
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