Toms Shoes and humanitarian agency World Vision have launched a new partnership to provide children in more than a dozen developing countries with new shoes to protect their health and empower them to stay in school. In many cases, children are receiving their very first pair of shoes, or in other cases, the donated shoes allow them to replace outgrown or worn-out footwear.

“We are so thankful for our partnership with World Vision who works hard to help us get our shoes on the feet of children that need them the most and ensures they continue to get shoes in a sustainable way,” said Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of Toms Shoes.

Toms Shoes is a for-profit company created to use the marketplace to provide new shoes for children in need. With every pair purchased, Toms will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Its partnership with World Vision is a key element of how Toms is able to fulfill its philanthropic mission, which to date, has resulted in over 1 million pairs of new shoes to children around the world. Both organizations are dedicated to helping children, families, and communities lift themselves out of poverty, through strategic partnerships and the power of public compassion.

To date, World Vision has distributed Toms in Nicaragua, Uganda, Zambia, Burundi, Swaziland, Rwanda, Niger, Mali, Mongolia, China, Armenia, and Honduras—always within communities it serves, so that the impact of new shoes is leveraged by other ongoing development projects. Additional distribution in these and other countries are planned for this fall and into 2011.

Children in Zambia's Copperbelt Province were among the first to receive new shoes through this partnership. In Zambia, where more than 600,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS, better health and access to education are among World Vision's highest priorities for children living in poverty. New shoes help ensure that children are able to attend school (shoes are required), reach school (many must travel long distances), and protect their feet from injury and infection.

“These shoes truly represent opportunity for Zambian children who need them to attend school, and they help keep households healthy,” said Mike Veitenhans, World Vision’s national director of Zambia. “We are so grateful to TOMS Shoes for this donation and the long-term impact it will have.”

In Nicaragua, where World Vision distributed the first shipment of Toms Shoes in May, Joel Hernandez, 10, said his new pair of shoes would “protect my feet from the rough roads when I go to school, and also from animals and thorns. Now I can play ball, run, jump and do all my errands; I am protected.”