Giving new life to old shoes

Nazanin, Mohamed, Shiba, Arezoo and  Zanup wearing their new shoes 

This week we had twelve children from the EVAM asylum seeker's centre at Crissier go up to the International School of Lausanne for a couple of hours of fun with some of the ISL students. As a part of the fruitful relationship that has formed between EVAM and ISL, the ISL kids donate their pre-loved clothing and shoes to the EVAM kids. It is such a beautiful experience to watch the teachers and students helping the kids from EVAM pick out new and amazing wardrobes, especially in these colder months with many of them coming from desert landscapes and no idea of what snow feels like.

Last Wednesday night I even got in on the act. There is one boy at EVAM who gives me a bit of grief from time to time. Well, it is more my lack of tolerance and understanding for the horrors that he has had to endure that gives me the grief. So last Wednesday evening I had a bit of healing with this situation by helping Mohamed find some new coats and shoes from the generous and never-ending ISL collection. He was thanking me and I was thanking him so it was definitely good all round.

Above is a photo of a family of five newly arrived children from Afghanistan. They are quiet, gentle kids, torn from their homes by what politicians so easily call 'collateral damage'. They are wearing their new shoes from the ISL collection which will help them adjust to the harshness that winter sometimes brings to Switzerland along with its wonder.

This family has been living in a basement with their parents for the last month. No windows, no air, no light. Their mother has been unwell and EVAM have found them a two bedroom apartment in Lausanne. Imagine that. Below is a photo of all their worldly possessions plus the seven mattresses given to them by EVAM. But they still have the ability to laugh and play and be kids. If you ever find yourself thinking that war is a good thing and the only way to resolve what is happening in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, just put your own children in the shoes that these children are now wearing. It has been such a valuable education for me living and working in Switzerland. No certificates to hang on the wall but experiences and images that will never leave me.

Love to you all. Oh yeah, and if you have any shoes sitting in the cupboard that haven't lived for a while, let someone else put them to good use for you.


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