Shoes Aren't Just For Throwing

01/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

In Africa, too, shoes are a big story, and one that you can get involved in this holiday season.

In rural areas of Africa, schools are widely dispersed and public transportation is scarce, forcing girls to travel long distances to and from school daily. The scorching roads and risk of diseases, like hookworm, make shoes a necessity. Going to school barefoot can also be a source of embarrassment, keeping girls from speaking up in class and getting the most from their education. Unfortunately, the cost of shoes is more than many families can afford.

Your donation of $14 will set a girl in Africa on the path to success by providing a pair of sturdy shoes to ease her long journey to school. Her new shoes will also boost her confidence to participate fully in her education. In the words of one student in Ghana who received a pair of shoes from CAMFED: "I now look as neat and proud as any other school-girl."

Educating girls is the quickest route to alleviating poverty in Africa, but the direct costs of education, including shoes, keep millions of girls out of school each year.

This holiday season, you can give a donation in a friend's name and ensure that one more girl receives the education she needs to lift herself and her family out of poverty. Your donation will also help strengthen the economy in these rural areas of Africa as CAMFED buys items locally whenever possible.

The Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) is an international organization working to solve long-term health, economic and social issues in Africa by investing in girls' education and young women's empowerment. CAMFED began in 1993 by supporting 32 girls in rural Zimbabwe. In 2005, almost 250,000 children benefited from CAMFED's program of educational support in some of the poorest regions of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania.

Shoes for girls in Africa is just one of more than 1,600 charitable gift items you can find at This year, give a gift that matters.

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