Walking in their shoes

Staff photo/Laura Germann: Waynesfield-Goshen sixth-grader Keira Fraley cuts out denim into patterns that will be used to make shoes for children in Uganda.
Staff Writer

Waynesfield-Goshen students are putting themselves in others' shoes by literally making just that — shoes.

As part of their lessons in learning empathy this month, sixth through 12th grade students have been working on a project titled “Sole Hope,” a service project to help provide shoes to children in Uganda suffering from jiggers. The shoes are made of common household materials — denim and plastic — which the kids helped donate.

This week, several children gathered in the media center to cut out the materials collected into patterns that will be used by Sole Hope to create shoes. All the students that helped cut patterns chose to do so voluntarily during their free period.

At the beginning of the project, the students watched a video about Ugandan children who suffer from jiggers, a parasitic insect that infects the feet of children who must go barefoot. The goal is to provide these children with shoes to prevent them from getting jiggers.

“Watching the video, the kids had these kinds of reactions of like ‘oh my gosh, I can’t believe they live that way’ and ‘oh, how sad’ or ‘how painful,’” said W-G guidance counselor Abby Dellinger, who headed the project. “We were able to say ‘that’s empathy,’ and that was a really good connection.”

Dellinger found the project online and felt it was a good fit with their theme for teaching empathy, “put yourself in their shoes.” The involvement with Sole Hope has really moved the students, she said.

See Thursday's paper for the full story.