Immortal Soles is a non-profit organization bringing new and gently used athletic footwear to impoverished children in underdeveloped countries around the world who engage in organized sports as a vehicle to better their lives.
We do athletic shoe drives at area schools and municipalities. We then team up with sports-for-development organizations around the world to distribute our shoes to the most poverty-stricken areas. We use the power of social media to empower our donors by allowing them to see the recipient of their charity. Every person who donates a shoe will receive a picture of the recipient child wearing the donated shoe, either via email, Facebook, Instagram or twitter. See pictures of some recipients of Immortal Soles shoes on our RECIPIENTS page.
WHY IT MATTERS
Sports gives hope to children who come from the most poverty-stricken communities, many with household incomes of less than $2/day. Organized sports, with its concentration on teamwork, social skills, sportsmanship and life skills, is a very powerful medium to keep impoverished children off the streets and to inculcate values, infuse discipline and influence social change. Numerous studies have proven that sports increase motivation, school attendance, concentration, coordination, self-confidence and healthier choices – all important factors in overcoming poverty. We partner with organizations that use sports as a developmental tool to teach important lessons that will help youth break the poverty cycle.
Immortal Soles was born out of the desire to help impoverished children around the world after spending a year in New Delhi, India teaching kids in the slums how to play tennis. We were so impressed by these children, their enthusiasm to learn a new sport and the positive impact it has on their willingness to stay in school and “off the streets” but were saddened to see the children play in broken sandals or other inappropriate footwear. Meanwhile, children from affluent communities in the U.S. go through 3-4 pairs of sneakers a year! We felt compelled to bridge this gap!
Akash is a sophomore at Tufts University. He is a dedicated student and competitive tennis player who currently plays on the Tufts Men's tennis team and while in high school played USTA as well as ITF tournaments all over the world. While living in India, Akash was very affected by the rampant poverty he saw everywhere. Knowing what a powerful role sports had played in his own life, Akash was determined to teach children in the slum how to play the sport he is so passionate about. He volunteered with Magic Bus, a sports-for-development organization that uses sports as a metaphor to teach powerful lessons to underprivileged children. The experience was life changing. He realized that these children don’t lack skill or motivation, they just need someone to believe in them and they will excel. The experience empowered Akash to start Immortal Soles with his siblings and continue to make a difference in the lives of impoverished children around the world. You can read about Akash's experience teaching kids in the slums of India how to play tennis on the Magic Bus blog.
Priya is a senior in high school. She is a committed student and competitive squash player, ranked nationally amongst the top 10 players in her age group. She was a member of the Team USA Squash Team in both the Canada and Great Britain Games. Priya, an all-around athlete, is not only passionate about sports but also very compassionate towards the underprivileged. Living in India opened Priya’s eyes to the world of extreme poverty. Passing beggars on the way to school every morning pulled at her heartstrings and prompted her to spend her allowance handing out donations and making goody bags for the children born into that world. She loved assisting her brother, Akash, as he taught the Magic Bus children every weekend, and formed warm friendships with many of the participants. She felt compelled to play her part helping children around the world who participate in sports as a vehicle to change their lives and teamed up with her brother to make this a reality.
Shailen Verma is a sophomore at Blair Academy, an avid squash and tennis player, and a former robotics champion. Shailen first learned about the world of poverty when he lived in India. While helping his brother teach impoverished children how to play tennis, he gained a great deal of compassion for these children. Upon his return to the U.S., he helped his siblings run Immortal Soles shoe drives at his school and neighboring schools.