Location: Surin Province, Thailand
Giving Partner: EDF Thailand
Tanawan, fondly nicknamed Nink by her friends and family, lives in the Surin province of Thailand, situated in the country’s northeast, along the Thai-Cambodian border. Known as the “Province of Elephants” to tourists, it is a quiet town, but densely populated and one of the most impoverished in the country. In the Khwao Sinrin district, where Nink lives with her family, most villagers rely on farming of rice paddies and silk, due to the extreme climate and geography of the land.
Every day, Nink and her friends ride their bicycles to get to school. Smiling, Nink recalls the day she received her first pair of new TOMS Shoes at school. “Every student in my school was very excited…there came teachers and parents who I heard were there to distribute shoes,” she explained of the day.
“Our teacher gave us the information on [where] the shoes came from, the importance of shoes and emphasized [to] us to wear shoes all the time if we’re outside,” she said.
A teacher measured each child’s feet to make sure that their new shoes would be a proper fit, and were then distributed with the help of volunteers and student leaders. Every child in Nink’s school received a pair of new TOMS Shoes.
TOMS Giving Partner EDF Thailand works throughout the country to provide families with scholarship support, sanitation and hygiene education and education development projects. For more than 25 years, EDF has been working to improve the quality of life and fulfill basic needs for children through its programming. TOMS Shoes are distributed through the organization’s school-based approach, which brings the organization to some of the most remote schools and communities throughout the country.
After receiving her shoes, Nink drew a picture of herself wearing her new TOMS.
“These shoes are very comfortable and soft,” Nink shared. “I can feel that it’s protecting my feet, and I will love to play football with my girl friends and cycle to school with my proper shoes.”