These Shoes: Training for orthopedic shoe makers
In 2014, the Netherlands Leprosy Relief and the Liliane Foundation started the first training programme for orthopedic shoe makers in Southeast Asia. Youngsters from countries within the region were trained in Hanoi, Vietnam, to be able to work as orthopedic shoe makers in their home countries. Some of the trainees themselves have disabilities. At the end of 2018, more than 40 students have completed their international vocational training in shoe making. Starting from their workshops they will create the ground works for orthopedic foot care in their own countries.
Zin Lynn (32) from Myanmar makes new shoes for Naw Hay. Lynn was part of the first group to graduate: “I want to make sure that people with foot problems get suitable shoes.”
Naw Hay (12) is crying as she puts on her new shoes. She was often bullied because of her club feet. Now, for the first time she is getting shoes fitted to walk more easily.
Leng Sophea (35) suffers the consequences of leprosy. As a patient he had difficulties facing life. However, he did join the training programme in Hanoi. And now he is the first orthopedic shoe maker in Cambodia.
Students from Cambodia, Bangladesh and other countries are concentrated at work in their classroom in Hanoi.
Newly qualified people for a better future
In Southeast Asia, more than 2 million people have medical issues with their feet - caused by severe congenital conditions or other diseases. Until recently, special footwear to make these people more mobile were hard to find in these countries. Moreover, there was a shortage of shoe makers who could design, fit and make adapted shoes. Because of the motivated graduates of the training programme for orthopedic shoe makers, more adults and children now have access to specialized foot care and fitted shoes. This furthers their ability to participate and play a role in society.
Training continues in Southeast Asia
The project ‘These shoes are made for walking’ has been funded by a contribution from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery. This project by the Netherlands Leprosy Relief and the Liliane Foundation ended in 2018, but the training programme in Hanoi continues.