Monday, July 25, 2011

Sandals Worth Buying

How adorable are these sandals?
I fell in love with them even more after learning their story:

If you happen to find yourself in Kampala, Uganda, make your way to the Old Taxi Park. From there,

grab a taxi van to Matuga. Jump off at the end of the line, and hop on a boda boda to the Cornerstone Leadership Academy. After a (bumpy) ride along a dirt road, you will find yourself in the company of some of the most intelligent and committed young women in Uganda.

These women are graduates of the Cornerstone Leadership Academy and employees of Sseko Designs.
Sseko \say-ko\ Designs was created to help these bright young women continue their education. The Ugandan school system is designed with a nine month gap between secondary school and university. These nine months are intended to allow time for students to earn money for tuition before continuing on to university. However, in an impoverished and male dominated society, many of these young women struggle to find fair work during this time.

Sseko Designs hires recent secondary school graduates for this nine month period to live and work together, while earning money that will go directly towards their university education. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and
ravished by a 22 year-long war.

Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country's educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda.

Although consumerism makes many empty promises, responsible and proactive consumerism has the ability to change lives. Like the lives of Mercy, Mary and Rebbecca.
This story has only just begun, but with your help, it will be a story of hope, success and change.

I want to teach our girls that they can make a difference
no matter how big (starting a business whose purpose is beyond profit)
or small (purchasing sandals from a company whose focus is to helps others).

I want them to live a life that is purposeful - focused on loving Him and loving others.

I'm thankful that even little things like buying amazingly cute sandals can be an example to the girls.  It also helps me not to be so mindless about our family's purchases.

As Cameron (Sseko's International Development Director) puts it,
So when you buy a pair of Ssekos, you’re not just getting a fabulous sandal.  Your purchase is going so much further than that.  It’s going toward opportunity, dignity, education, empowerment, and love for a handful of women in Uganda.

By the way, I've been reading this series which has opened my eyes even more to the responsibility we have as consumers and followers of Christ.  Scroll to the bottom of this post and click on Caring for the Poor While Living in the Good ol' U-S of A if you want to start at the beginning.

Just FYI:
This post is meant to share what's been going on in my heart, but it's also a way to enter to win a free pair of Sseko sandals.  But, who are we kidding - regardless if this post gets picked, I'm buying a pair of those bad boys for sure.


Angela talks said...

I heard about these sandals a few years ago on, Like A Warm Cup of Coffee, I believe. I was new to blogging, and I even signed up, I thought, to become a distributor but never heard from anyone.

Nice post. Thanks. I will tweet this.

Angela said...

Oh, I don't see where I can tweet your story or share it on Facebook?

Grace said...

Angela - got that fixed for you - feel free to share =) Thanks for letting me know!