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UN Helping To Put Shoes On Rwandan Refugees' Feet

UN helping to put shoes on Rwandan refugees' feet

6 August 2008 - A United Nations-backed campaign is helping to put shoes on the feet of over 4,000 Rwandan refugees.

A Canadian non-profit organization called Sole Responsibility has collected over 4,000 pairs of shoes in collaboration with schools and running clubs, and shipping costs are covered by cash donations. The Ottawa-based group focuses on providing footwear to displaced people worldwide.

The gently-worn running and walking shoes are being distributed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Rwandan camps.

"It will certainly be of great help to our refugees since it's now the rainy season and the refugees are in the wet and mud with no shoes," said Annette Nyekan, the agency's Representative in Rwanda.

Her counterpart in Canada, Abraham Abraham, said that "the shoes will allow and encourage refugee children to go to school, play and feel dignified and cared for."

Sole Responsibility began collecting footwear in 2005, and since than has collected nearly 15,000 pairs of shoes, working with UNHCR to send them to places where refugees need them most.

"People here are eager to help and are very appreciative of UNHCR's work in the field," said Jennifer North, a representative of the organization. "We really enjoy doing this project and we think we can expand it, both geographically and with items that we are collecting."


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