Sole Hope: Old Jeans DIY to Save Kids’ Lives

by Julie Finn

I definitely love a good old jeans DIY, especially one that helps other people! In this post from Crafting a Green World, Julie Finn talks about how you can help Ugandan children by using your old jeans in one of the most fun, altruistic craft projects ever!

A crafting project that saves lives!

I know that we love to turn our old jeans into quilts and skirts and potholders and tote bags, but the organization Sole Hope has an even better use for them: They save kids’ lives.

This was news to me, but in Uganda, where kids walk barefoot, there apparently also lives a horrible parasite, the jigger. This parasite lays eggs in kids’ feet, giving the bottoms of their feet open sores and putting them at risk for all kinds of infections and debilitations. These kids can’t walk without pain. They certainly can’t run and play. They certainly can’t go to school or help out their families.

That doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend one’s childhood.

Sole Hope, however, heals these kids, and they use old jeans to do it.

What you do is buy a shoe-cutting party kit from the organization, then you invite all your friends and instruct them to bring ALL their old jeans. Use the patterns in the kit to cut out a bunch of shoes, mail them back, and the shoemaking team (scroll down to find them) will complete the process of making children’s shoes from your jeans.

Sole Hope removes the jiggers from the kids’ feet, educates them about prevention, and gives them a pair of these shoes to wear to keep their feet safe from now on. You can continue to make shoes for the organization, or send back the patterns to be re-used for other shoe-cutting parties.

There are a lot of things that I really like about Sole Hope:

  • Sole Hope is a religious organization, but they assure me that they do not proselytize (full disclosure: I’m an atheist, and I don’t support charities that proselytize. Feel free to yell at me in the Comments below).
  • The organization utilizes something that is genuine waste on our part to create something that is genuinely useful. That is the gold-standard definition of green crafting.
  • The shoes look NICE! The team of professionals that finishes the job makes all the difference in giving these kids shoes that are lovely and sturdy.
  • Support for Sole Hope also seems to support local economies, utilizing Ugandan leadership and staff.

So while I don’t think that anybody should cease their own personal production of denim quilts, skirts, potholders, tote bags, and many more very impractical things, I do think that this particular use for unwanted denim should be a part of every person’s to-do list.

Because kids who can run and play? That’s definitely worth crafting for.


[Photo credit: Sole Hope image via Jamie Ivey]

Reposted with permission from Crafting a Green World.

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  • Nina Riethmaier

    I love that they are just loving on people just like Christ loves you and me. When people say, “Why are you doing this? Giving up everything {we love in first world countries} to serve strangers?”, and they answer them – because we love Jesus and want to be more like Him, they may come to know Him not because of our {Christians} doing, but because of Him and his very nature and plans.

    I disagree with people who do good things for the poor, hungry, and make them listen to an emotionally charged message about heaven and hell. Although heaven and hell are absolute reality, it’s manipulation and can cause a fake declaration of faith.

    I apologize for Christians who use manipulative ways to convert people, but in their defense, the joy and peace that come with having God as my good, good Father can sometimes make you want EVERYONE you meet to have the same thing. You want to give it away. Thanks for sharing the Collie’s nonprofit, Sole Hope. They really are saving lives and loving well in Uganda!!

    Some natives actually think jiggers are a curse and a result of witchcraft and often abandon those inflicted, or worse, send them to witch doctors.

    • Nina Riethmaier

      PS I don’t know the Collies personally and am not replying on their behalf.

  • May I repost as a mission night idea on my blog for Children’s Ministry?

    • Nina Riethmaier

      Our VBS did a huge shoe cutting party! It was awesome!