By Moses Kizito Buule, Wakiso
1,200 Ugandan children are the lucky beneficiaries of the first wonder shoes with properties of healing foot fungal and bilharzia-related infections and jiggers.
The US-made microbin property-treated shoes were on Sunday have been distributed by M/S Samaritan’s Feet to children in King Solomon’s Junior School Bulenga, Kiryandongo refugee camp and in Jinja district.
The shoes delivered to Uganda by an 8-man team of evangelists from American churches are also to be distributed in Kenya, Greece, S. Africa, Burundi, Ghana, Honduras and Nicaragua this summer. The idea of their manufacture was first developed by a Ugandan evangelist Pr. Solomon Mwesige who later sold the idea of American colleagues for their manufacture.
Whitney Saucedo, a member of the eight man team that delivered the shoes code-named ‘world shoes’, said Uganda is the first beneficiary because the idea of the shoes was first developed by a Ugandan, and added that this summer, beneficiaries in other countries would also be considered.
Saucedo said that a pair of the shoes which were distributed free, gets off the production line at a cost of 20 US dollars. “We have distributed two hundred pair to King Solomon’s Junior School pupils, and taking 800 pairs to Kiryandongo refugee camp, and 200 pairs to other needy children in Jinja district”, she said.
The shoes to Kiryandongo were flagged off alongside one tonne of relief food provided by M/S Feed the Hungry E. Africa, an affiliate of Good News Ministries, and Pastor Mwesige who is also the President of Feed The Hungry, prayed that taxes on such relief items should be lifted.
He was alarmed that although they are executing a good Samaritan’s duty, taxes are levied on them, and added that he has held dialogue with the Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni to have such taxes waived.
Pr. Mwesige also blamed bureaucracy for allegedly frustrating his efforts to have the foot protection shoes manufactured in Uganda after developing the idea, saying that this denied Ugandans the job opportunities coming with such an investment.
“It is painful to imagine that presently we have to beg other people to advance an idea that began as Uganda’s brain child, and pay heavily in taxes for importation of the shoes”, he lamented.
Pr. Dale Ryals from City Hope Church in Alabama said they have for the last four years liaised with Pr. Solomon Mwesige in extending food assistance to needy Ugandans especially in refugee camps.
The team traveled with dentists who teamed up with Ugandan colleagues among Good News Church and offered free dental check ups and teeth cleaning to communities.