ProWorld and TOMS Partner to Distribute New Shoes in Rural Peru

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ProWorld staff and volunteers are currently distributing thousands of pairs of new TOMS Shoes to rural children in the High Andean communities of Peru, as a TOMS Shoes Giving Partner.

“ProWorld has been committed to improving the lives of people in rural communities in Peru, and partnering with TOMS to provide new shoes for children in need is another positive step in that direction,” said Richard A. Webb, founder of ProWorld.

ProWorld, a social enterprise that offers volunteer, internship, and study abroad opportunities for individuals and custom groups in developing countries, is proud to announce that is has begun distributing thousands of pairs of new shoes to rural children in the high Andean provinces near Cusco, Peru, as a Giving Partner with TOMS Shoes.

“ProWorld has been committed to improving the lives of people in rural communities in Peru for the last twelve years, and partnering with TOMS to provide new shoes for children in need is another positive step in that direction,” said Richard A. Webb, founder of ProWorld. “ProWorld, like TOMS, is a business with a strong mission that includes giving back to communities in need – not through charity, but through enterprise.”

ProWorld has spent the last 12 years connecting volunteers with Peruvian locals to implement community development projects in the Cusco and Urubamba regions of Peru. ProWorld projects in Peru – such as installing cleaner burning stoves or providing clean water through locally-made water filters – are shown to directly improve the health and well-being of local families, especially children. ProWorld reached out to TOMS to become a Giving Partner after seeing the number of children in areas where they were working who did not have shoes, and were walking barefoot even in the winter months.

“In the high Andean provinces, we see many children walking around barefoot with red, swollen feet, increasing their chances of respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, simply because their families can’t afford to buy them shoes,” said Milagro M. Paz, country director, ProWorld Peru. “TOMS Shoes can be a lifesaver for these children, and ProWorld is proud to help by distributing the shoes and educating the local communities on factors that influence respiratory illnesses in their children.”

ProWorld staff from the Cusco and Urubamba offices, along with ProWorld volunteers, are currently distributing the shoes in conjunction with local community members in the municipalities of Acopia, Canas, Acomayo, Pitumarca, Lares, Huayllabamba, and Colquepata. The first distribution took place on May 18, 2012 in the municipality of Acopia. Distributions will continue throughout May and June 2012. Communities were selected based primarily on need and location, as these communities are among the poorest – and coldest – in Peru. The remote nature of many of these communities means there is a lack of viable options for shoe purchases, even if families could afford them. In addition, ProWorld and its volunteers have worked directly with many of the communities on specific community projects, such as installing cleaner burning stoves.

“I’m happy about the new shoes and the people,” said Cinthia, a 10-year-old girl from Acopia who recently received a pair of TOMS Shoes.

TOMS Shoes One for One™ model gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes sold. TOMS Shoes are distributed by a network of Giving Partners that work to integrate shoes into their health, education and community development programs. TOMS works to create long-term partnerships with its Giving Partners, so that children will have access to new shoes as they grow.

"I didn’t know a lot about TOMS Shoes One for One model before this event," said Jade Dunbar, a 23-year-old student ProWorld volunteer from the University of South Carolina. “I think it´s cool that I got to be a part of it and give kids shoes.”

“Working with organizations that have a long-term presence in communities is key to our model of sustainable and responsible giving,” said Sebastian Fries, the Chief Giving Officer for TOMS. “Through these incredible partners, TOMS is able to provide new shoes as a critical component of each organizations heath, education and community development programs. We are so excited that new TOMS Shoes will now be reaching children in rural Cusco, Peru through our Giving Partner ProWorld!”

ProWorld’s mission is to empower communities, promote social and economic development, conserve the environment, and cultivate educated compassionate global citizens.

ProWorld’s founders, Richard A. Webb and Nick Bryngelson, started ProWorld twelve years ago with the vision of creating sustainable change by working closely and collaboratively with local communities to connect them with global volunteers. ProWorld volunteer abroad opportunities are also offered in Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Panama, Philippines, South Africa, and Thailand, and focus on important global issues: health, environment and social/economic development. Recently, ProWorld launched ProWorld Foundation, a non-profit that works closely with ProWorld field offices to identify and raise additional funding for the most successful and influential projects. To date, ProWorld volunteers have logged more than 800,000 hours of volunteer service and injected more than $7 million of needed capital into local economies.

About ProWorld
ProWorld (http://www.proworldvolunteers.org) facilitates volunteer, internship, and study abroad opportunities for individuals and custom groups with community projects in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2009 National Geographic Adventure magazine listed ProWorld as one of its “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.” ProWorld is a division of Intrax, a family of organizations that provide a lifetime of high quality educational, work and volunteer programs that connect people and cultures. Intrax is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with Intrax and ProWorld offices in 20 countries.

About TOMS Shoes
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One™. TOMS has given away millions of pairs of new shoes to children through Giving Partners around the world.

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Melanie Vuynovich
ProWorld
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