For its July drive, Bridge Pune, an NGO along with Save our Soles (SOS), an initiative by an adventure company is collecting trekking shoes in good condition of any size. Men, women or children’s shoes are all needed.
Samir Patham and Sauraj Jhingan with some of the porters they help out
This is a project that aims to improve the plight of porters who earn a minimum wage, by carrying heavy loads of 30-40 kgs of equipment and supplies in remote mountain terrain. SOS, a social initiative of avid mountaineers Samir Patham and Sauraj Jhingan, have first hand experience of how these porters survive and work, as they have been on numerous treks and climbs in Nepal as well as North India.
The porters carrying trekker’s bags in the Himalayas
Samir Patham from SOS says, “We are a travel company and started the shoe initiative approximately five years ago. We do treks to Ladakh and Nepal where we come across porters who carry trekkers' bags. They wear really shoddy, inappropriate footwear, so we decided to start this drive.”
With treks scheduled for September, the SOS team is collecting as many trekking shoes as they can. “People from Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai come for our treks and they tend not to use their shoes for more than three treks. We appeal to them to donate their shoes to the porters.
These porters have to scale the rugged, icy Himalayan terrain and these shoes prove to be a blessing for them,” adds Patham. Patham says, “The porters are very thankful for the shoes and those who had donated are happy to see the difference their contribution had made.”
For more details call: Save Our Souls: 7709002312/13 (Pune number).