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Roslelor smiles shyly when asked about her new shoes.
“I will wear them to school,” she says, staring down at the hard packed dirt floor of her home.
Her father Dorvil sits on a chair in the back of the room with a wide smile on his face. Today is a special day; his 11-year-old daughter just received her first pair of new shoes.Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control program, which distributes safe drugs at schools and community posts to control and eliminate NTDs such as hookworm and other soil transmitted helminthes. These diseases are endemic all over the country and can produce a wide range of symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain, general malaise and weakness that may affect working and learning capacities and impair physical growth.
One can quickly see how proud Dorvil and his family are of their home. Their few belongings are neatly organized; their clothes are worn but washed and clean. Dorvil greets visitors with a firm handshake and the rough calloused hands of a farmer.
Through hard work, Dorvil provides for his family the best he can. The rows of corn, potatoes, beans and plantains growing on their small plot of land are the fruits of his labor. Life isn’t easy. His wife died when Roslelor was very young, and he has been raising his family of four on little more than $1 each day.
In the past he has bought shoes for his children, but they were used and didn’t fit well as they were handed down from child to child. It didn’t take long before the children became more comfortable without them—putting them at risk of injury and infection.
Shoes are the first level of defense when it comes to good health. They keep feet safe from cuts and bruises that can become infected, and they act as a barrier to protect children from parasites like those IMA is working to control and eliminate in Haiti. Together, the disease-fighting drugs and the new shoes are packing a one-two punch against NTDs for children like Roslelor.
What would you do if you couldn’t provide shoes for your child? Thanks to TOMS Shoes and IMA World Health, thousands of families in Haiti are not faced with that dilemma.
And for a child like Roslelor, the new shoes can give her a happier, healthier life.
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