A car was loaded at Vagabond, a shoe-making company located in the town of Varberg, on the west coast of Sweden, and headed to the Special Institution of Demir Kapija, Macedonia. Thanks to the company’s generous gift of 400 pairs of warm shoes, the winter months will now be warmer and more pleasant for the people living at this Special Institution.
“It feels wonderful to have received so many shoes, enough to go around so that everyone gets a pair. The people that have not had shoes up to now, can all of a sudden go outdoors and enjoy the fresh air even on the cold winter days, which they were not able to do before. Many of the people living here have probably never had a pair of brand new shoes before,” says Sabina Grubbeson, founder of Loza Foundation.
Each year, Varberg-based Vagabond allocate a portion of their profit to charity. This year they have supported Loza Foundation’s work for vulnerable people in the poorest countries of Europe by donating 400 pairs of shoes worth 40,000 euro in total.
Along with the shoes, the Institution received socks, which Loza Foundation purchased from a local manufacturer in Macedonia.
“I personally did not have the opportunity to be there this particular time, but our Macedonian representatives informed me that the residents and the staff were very happy and curious about the new shoes.”
The new shoes were displayed in a few different rooms at the institution and the residents could take their time to try out the right size and model.
“It was very important to us that the residents would be able to choose the pair they wanted. Previously, if they had received shoes, they were usually second-hand and not always in very good condition nor the right fit. We therefore wanted to give them the feeling of visiting a shoe store all by themselves and having the joy of trying out their favorite pair. We wanted to offer them an opportunity to enjoy something that is normal for most people and at the same time give them a sense of identity and self-confidence.”
Since many residents at the Demir Kapija institution find it difficult to take care of their feet due to various disabilities, one of Loza Foundation’s upcoming projects will be to seek volunteers to help out with foot care. The plan is to let these volunteers come to Macedonia and provide foot care to those with foot problems and train the staff at this institution on how to help the disabled people with their feet.
“We have started discussions with a Swedish organization of foot therapists and we are developing the project. Right now, we are looking for foot specialists in Sweden who want to volunteer and really make an important impact for the vulnerable people of Macedonia,” says Sabina Grubbeson, founder of Loza Foundation.
Loza Foundation works for the most vulnerable people in the poorest countries of Europe, a rating based on the United Nations Human Development Index, HDI.