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Aid Through Trade: Soul of Africa

There are over 2.5 million orphans in South Africa who have lost parents to the AIDS pandemic.  Lance Clark, a sixth-generation member of the Clark’s Shoe family, heads up a remarkable organization that provides children and single mothers with secure homes, education and a real hope for the future.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.08.31 PMLance joined Soul of Africa in 2004 with a goal of lessening the impact of HIV on families and orphaned children through the creation and sale of hand-stitched shoes.  “Soul of Africa is about giving people the means to do something to help themselves,” said Lance.

Soul of Africa shoes, made in Durban, South Africa, are hand sewn by previously unemployed women, which in turn promotes local industry and creates self-sustainable employment in countries that have some of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

Profits from the shoe sales are donated to the Soul of Africa Trust to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa and Ethiopia.  Since 2005, Soul of Africa has raised over $2 million, giving over 10,000 children the ability to survive beyond childhood and create a future for themselves and their families.

The brand has recently extended its philosophy of supporting sustainable employment to Ethiopia in collaboration with Vivobarefoot to make the unique Soul of Africa Barefoot Shoes.  There are about 5 million orphans in Ethiopia and profits created from the sale of these shoes are used to help local orphans through a partnership with Addis Ababa based charity Beyond The Orphanage.

To learn more about Soul of Africa and how you and your company can support their efforts (and their shoes) go to www.soulofafrica.com.

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