In the UK, we discard two million pairs of shoes every week (1). This contributes to the nearly two million tonnes of textiles dumped in landfill each year. Shoes in Africa cost more than a month's salary - approximately 12% of the annual wage; a huge sum compared to the cost of shoes in the UK, where a normal purchase represents just 0.83% of our average yearly salary (2).
With these shocking statistics in mind, shoe-care expert Kiwi created the Shoe Aid for Africa campaign two years ago to give UK families a chance to change lives in Africa. Each year, Shoe Aid for Africa aims to send 100,000 pairs of shoes to an African country. This year, the campaign is supporting Tanzania, working with the charity Soles4Souls to ensure the shoes reach the right people.
TV personality and shoe enthusiast Denise Van Outen is this year's Kiwi Shoe Aid for Africa ambassador, and the face of the celebrity shoe auction being held on eBay to raise funds for this year's campaign.
Avid shoe collectors can bid for more than 20 pairs of celebrity and designer shoes, including a pair of Denise's very own cherry-red heels, since the 10-day auction opened on 3rd November, 2010. Lucky winning bidders will literally feel what it's like to walk in a celebrity's shoes.
Denise Van Outen said: "The simple luxury of wearing shoes is something we all take for granted. The conditions Africans face are unimaginable to those who haven't experienced them first hand. I think it's so important to help with a fundamental need such as this - providing footwear to children so that they can deal with day-to-day challenges with some comfort in their lives."
Denise continued: "On a personal level, I'm looking forward to the online auction, which I think is just a fantastic way to raise cash. Never one to miss a shoe sale, I'll also be roping in my mates to check out the online shoe cabinet. I'm hoping punters will bid more than they would usually on eBay, not only because this is such a worthwhile cause, but also because a lot of these celebrity shoes have a tale to tell - if shoes could talk, eh! I'm also happy to be parting with a pair of my favourites for the cause - a pair of fabulous, cheeky red heels!"
The auction will not only help raise funds to reach the target of 100,000 pairs of shoes, but also aims to raise the profile of the campaign and the need for this type of aid in Africa as a whole. For every $1 (63p) raised from the auction, Kiwi will send another pair of shoes out to children in Tanzania.
Celebrities have raided their wardrobes and shoe-racks to support the cause. Here is just a sample of some of the famously heeled shoes up for grabs:
- Sweeping the floor at this year's BBC Strictly Come Dancing, Felicity Kendal has donated a pair of her lucky dancing shoes
- Stylish Emilio Luca X shoes donated by actress Barbara Windsor
- There's nothing sporty about the foxy black patent Chanel shoes donated by Mel C
- PR and style expert Nick Ede has donated his pink and white Puma
- Famous make-up artist Lisa Eldridge lives up to her reputation for glamour with a sparkly pair of Miu Miu heels
- Winner of eight major championships, Tom Watson, American Professional golfer has donated a pair of FJ Superlightes.
- Black Alfani men's shoe-ankle boots from 3 Doors Down lead singer, Brad Arnold
- Plus strappy sandals from the personal collection of Pearl Lowe - singer-songwriter turned fashion and textiles designer.
Denise Van Outen concludes: "The great thing about the campaign is that even if you don't manage to snag yourself a pair of beauties on eBay, you can still contribute by making a donation through the site."