Inspired by compassionate college basketball coaches and retail sales struggles, companies are donating millions of pairs of shoes to help children in impoverished countries.
After food, clean water and simple housing, shoes are one of the most basic needs that can help change lives. Over 300 million children woke up this morning without a pair of shoes. Soon, many of those children will have new hope with this life changing gift.
The vision for Samaritan’s Feet was conceived over 28 years ago on one hot summer afternoon at a camp in Lagos, Nigeria when a stranger from Wisconsin befriended a young African boy. The young boy, like so many other children in Africa and around the world, had never known the comfort and security of owning a pair of tennis shoes. This “Good Samaritan” gave a life-changing gift and a message of hope to that 9-year old boy. He gave him his first pair of shoes.
With that new pair of shoes for inspiration, Emmanuel Ohonme went on to compete in sports activities in Africa. Specifically, he developed a love as well as superior talent for competitive basketball. His skill and confidence continued to flourish; his hard work and determination to succeed finally paid off. He was offered the chance to attend an institution of higher learning in America under a full basketball scholarship! He met his wife, Tracie, while attending the University of North Dakota (Lake Region) and he later earned an executive position in a leading technology company. In spite of his successes in America, Manny never forgot the other little boys and girls in Africa who were still living under the strain of poverty, drug abuse, war, gangs and other criminal activity. Determined to help impoverished people in Africa, Manny left the comfort and security of his executive position to birth the vision of Samaritan’s Feet. He now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and four children, who are all a part of making the vision of Samaritan’s Feet a reality. Through Samaritan’s Feet, Manny has the opportunity to continue the legacy of love and hope he received when he was given his first pair of shoes and make a difference in the lives of millions.
Throughout 2008, led by coach Ron Hunter of IUPUI, a number of college basketball coaches have taken to the court in their bare feet to create awareness. This awareness led to an opportunity to appear on “Inside the NBA” with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. The national exposure has inspired major corporations to donate millions of pairs of shoes.