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A journey of a million smiles, starts with a single step…

Children’s charity Sal’s Shoes counted its one millionth pair of shoes and delivered them to South Africa, where they began a new life on the feet of three year old Tumelo.

Up to then, Tumelo had been wearing shoes with holes in both soles, leaving him open to infection and disease from parasites such as hookworm.

Sadly, this situation is all too common. Walking with shoes is a rarity for 300 million children worldwide.

Sal’s Shoes aims to change this, with a mission to distribute outgrown (but not outworn) children’s shoes around the world, in order to protect little feet from injury and infection.


Since Sal’s Shoes started the initiative in November 2013, they have sent shoes directly to children in 38 countries around the world, including within the UK.

Over 650 schools worldwide have also participated in its Toe to Toe initiative which takes place on the last day of the academic year.  By donating school shoes which they are likely to outgrow over the school holidays, children help change the lives and futures of others who would not be allowed to attend school without shoes.

Sal’s Shoes was founded five years ago by mum CJ Bowry, who wanted to send her son Sal’s barely worn, but outgrown, shoes to children who needed them. Unable to find an organisation that could tell her where exactly Sal’s pre-loved shoes would end up, she decided to send them to a friend working overseas. CJ was sent a photo of a child 5,000 miles away, wearing Sal’s first pair of shoes, and so the journey began . . .

In its first year, the charity collected and distributed 4,805 pairs of barely worn children’s footwear.  Five years’ later and one million pairs of shoes have found new feet.  The shoes are tracked to their new owners so that the donor knows where the next steps were taken.

CJ says,

“We are so delighted to have reached this incredible milestone of one million pairs of shoes. When I began this journey five years ago, I had absolutely no idea how far we would be able to go, or the level of support and generosity we would encounter from individuals, companies and organisations. Sal’s Shoes is a simple charity with a child friendly concept. As a small charity, our principle limitation in continuing to help children worldwide is financial. We achieve what we do because so many people support our journey and help us along the way.”

To find out how you or your business can help to support the valuable work that Sal’s Shoes does for children worldwide, please visit the website or Facebook Page

Sal’s Shoes welcomes both corporate sponsorship and individual donations and is proud to work with some big footwear brands to help shoe little feet around the world. Please contact CJ Bowry directly to discuss any corporate sponsorship:

Photo: Sal’s Shoes