International Relief and Development (IRD) and TOMS have partnered to distribute tens of thousands of new shoes to children in need in Armenia. With the help of local partner For Armenia, IRD is distributing TOMS Shoes to children across the country in orphanages, schools, and remote villages. Many of these children are living with disabilities and all are growing up in tremendous poverty.
As a TOMS Giving Partner, IRD has integrated shoe-giving into its ongoing program activities. In Armenia, IRD has been working since 2001 with more than 300 local organizations and communities on an Essential Pharmaceutical Commodities Distribution project, funded by the U.S. Department of State.
“IRD’s long-term relationships in Armenia allow us greater access to those communities most in need,” said Logistics Officer Bernhard Gallent. “The partnership with TOMS lets IRD provide even more support to the individuals we serve, and the children who receive new shoes are better prepared and better protected for a long, healthy future.”
For Armenia President G. Gevorgyan expressed his gratitude for the gift: “I cannot describe the extent of happiness people have when receiving this assistance. Mothers said that the money they would spend on shoes can now be redirected toward other needs, like food or medicine.”
IRD became a TOMS Giving Partner in May and will continue working with the company to distribute TOMS Shoes to children through our programs in Eastern Europe and Asia.
“One woman said that she had to borrow shoes from her neighbors to take her children to the doctor in the city,” said For Armenia President G. Gevorgyan. “She kissed my hand and thanked me. Her kiss is for all those who do not forsake people that struggle and suffer in poverty.”
For more information on IRD, visit www.ird.org or IRD in Armenia, and visit the IRD Voices blog to read first-hand accounts from IRD staff in the field. You can also stay up-to-date on IRD’s latest news by following us on Facebook, Twitter (@ird_voices), Flickr, or YouTube.
IRD is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization responsible for implementing relief, stabilization, and development programs worldwide. IRD’s mission is to reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable groups and provide the tools and resources needed to increase their self-sufficiency. Specializing in meeting the needs of communities emerging from conflict or natural disaster, IRD partners with donors, local organizations, and many others to deliver sustainable services in agriculture, governance, health, and infrastructure.
About TOMS: 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, 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™. Last year, TOMS evolved from a shoe company into the One for One company, and is now addressing an entirely new need in addition to shoes through eyewear – helping give sight to people in need around the world.