"Existence without an aim, without a worthy purpose, is worse than wasted"
~ Orison Swett Marden.
~ Orison Swett Marden.
Here's worthy cause from the Kurdish American Youth Organization:
The Kurdish American Youth Organization (KAYO) and Preemptive Love Coalition is teaming up to help promote Buy Shoes Save Lives.
PLC is a Non-profit organization working in Southern Kurdistan. One of their current projects is through their business Buy Shoes (Kaleşên Kurdi, Kilaşi Kurdi). Save Lives, in which they sell Kurdish Kaleş online to people in America. All the proceeds of their sales go toward funding heart surgeries for Children, specifically Kurdistan.
The Preemptive Love Coalition began with a couple of Americans, Jeremy Courtney and Cody Fisher, who had a growing fascination with klashi kurdi: hand-stitched shoes worn and made by the Kurds. The Preemptive Love Coalition simply connects these two discoveries, opening up an international market to buy fashionable shoes in a way that saves lives by funding travel and exam costs for pediatric heart surgeries with Shevet Achim.
In its first year, PLC helped finance life saving surgeries for 20 children with others preparing for surgeries in the near future. Through negotiated discounts and the work of partnering organizations, the cost for surgery, transportation, lodging and food for an extended period away from home averages approximately $7,000 per child.
The first child that PLC was able to fund for heart surgery was a 12-year old Kurdish boy named Aras, who is from Halabja. Halabja is still recovering from the effects of the chemical warfare brought upon them. Though it remains a topic of great speculation, experts have hypothesized that Saddam Hussein's 281 chemical attacks on the Kurds are a contributing factor to congenital heart disease in many today.
Aras should have had heart surgery as an infant, and when we first met him and his family, his mother shared with us the tragic plight of trying to find a way to heal their son these past 12 years, with every effort failed. His father had become so discouraged that he gave up entirely, realizing that his son couldn't be helped and could never live a healthy, normal life. Aras' mother wouldn't accept that, so she chose to never give up.
When Cody Fisher, co-founder of PLC, visited their home to share the good news that PLC was able to send Aras to heart surgery, her eyes were filled with tears. He is now back in his hometown, able to run, play football, and live a healthy life that his previous heart condition never allowed.
Some of these children have been funded by the proceeds from shoe sales – even more have been funded through partnerships that only exist because of PLC's advocacy, your interest, and the storytelling that happens because of this noble cause.
Please take a look at BuyShoesSaveLives.com and pass the information far and wide. For more info on the program, email firstname.lastname@example.org
At BuyShoesSaveLives.com, you'll get an idea of how the traditional Kurdish shoes, the klaş are made:
Your shoes, called klash, start with this stack of fabric, strung together by strips of leather to make the sole. The sole is the most difficult part of the shoe to master. A quality sole can be tested by bending the shoe and searching the sole for gaps and holes. If a sole passes the bend test with relatively few breaks in the pattern, we can be assured that it is going to last you for the long haul. Owing to the physical strength required to make this part of the shoe, this work is done 100% of the time by Kurdish men.
After the sole is completed, between two and four different Kurdish women invest no less than an additional 20 hours to carefully create the beautiful upper part of the shoe, with the topmost weave being reserved for the most skilled. Stitch-by-stitch each shoe is born, with every one carrying the unique mark of its maker. No shoe is perfect, as Muslim craftsman often regard that quality as belonging to God alone. But your shoe is made with great care, comprised of thousands and thousands of hand-sewn knots. The weave is so fine, you’ll be amazed when you inspect your klash close up that these are not made by machine.
And while you're at it, pick up a nice pair of klaş for the rest of your summer, for the new school year, or just to show your support for the program and the Kurdish people.
Besides, think how cool a pair will look with a black-and-white dersok.