BOSTON— Women Who Win, a Massachusetts-based women empowerment media platform, recently launched “The Shoe Project” charity program, which aims to provide footwear and health education to underserved global communities. It also donated over 700 pairs of shoes to underprivileged communities in Mumbai.
Dr. Deepa Jhaveri, co-founder of Women Who Win and a podiatrist, said that India has a slum population of over 80 million people, and slum residents have to walk miles every day to find back-breaking and grueling labor.
“They often work without proper (or any) footwear. Additionally, there is a significant population of women in slums and villages who live and work barefoot,” Dr. Jhaveri said in a statement. “This inspired the team to provide good quality, podiatrist – approved, and weather appropriate shoes to these communities because proper footwear is essential in preventing foot disease, infections, and amputations, and to keep safe while working.”
Dr. Jhaveri, who co-founded Women Who Win along with Dr. Manju Sheth and Shaleen Sheth, said that with thousands of people working barefoot everyday, they face significant risk to the health of their feet.
“Further, there are 62 million diabetics in India, and 25% result in DFUs (Diabetic Foot Ulcers) and 20% need foot amputations,” said Dr. Jhaveri.
With this in mind, not only are they providing the shoes, but the Women Who Win team is collaborating with podiatrists across the U.S. to educate and provide guidelines on foot health, which will also be donated with each pair of shoes.
Women Who Win collaborated with the Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE) to provide the shoes and educational materials on proper foot health.
This summer, organizers received an outstanding response to their pilot program. They partnered with Lions Club of Juhu in Mumbai, to donate over 700 pairs of shoes to the women of the Adivasi village.
“These women were excited to finally have the right footwear to complete their work, and showed sincere blessings to our entire team,” said Dr. Sheth. “The donation of shoes project to those who need it the most has been the fulfillment of the dream of our co-founders. As a physician, I have seen up close the devastation caused by multiple medical conditions including diabetes on the feet including ulcers, gangrene leading to amputations. Many complications are preventable with good shoes and education on how to protect your feet. As always, good intentions bring together like minded people. We are very blessed to have received the support of great organizations like Lion’s Club, especially the women’s team of Juhu, Mumbai and IMANE, led by Dr. Dhrumil Shah. It will be an ongoing project with multiple organizations In India followed by other places in the world as we are a global platform.”
Going into the next phase of the project, the team hopes to reach different underserved communities across India, providing all different kinds of footwear.
“It was striking to see how much receiving a simple pair of shoes can mean to people. I would love to provide different types of shoes for different needs as we grow the project – athletic shoes, shoes for particular health conditions etc.,” said Shaleen Sheth. “I would be most excited to partner more with women-led shoe companies and manufacturers, supporting their businesses, and helping in the cause of women empowerment, the mission of our platform. As a non-healthcare worker, I learned a lot about why taking care of your feet, and your body as a whole is so important, and a privilege in some way. Not all communities have the resources to do that, so it’s exciting that our organization can help solve a part of this.”
Added Dr. Jhaveri: “This project is very close to my heart as it ties in my profession and my Indian roots to create an immense impact in the daily lives of hundreds of people by preventing limb threatening foot infections. This project has also created a buzz in the podiatry community, particularly with Indian-American podiatrists as well as major footwear companies who have offered tremendous support of this initiative.”
Founded by three South Asian women from Boston, the platform is coming to its one-year anniversary, showcasing the stories of leading women across industries and all walks of life to an audience of thousands of people in over 80 countries. The team has created a global community with a passion for women empowerment, with weekly stories and forums for all topics such as women’s health, lifestyle, inspiration, business & entrepreneurship, and more. To join this dynamic community, share your story, and be a part of initiatives like this, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate to the cause, and for more information, visit their site below
Check out a video of their pilot program with the Lion’s Club of Juhu and Indian Medical Association of New England linked below