Multiply Justice

Do Toms hurt more than help?

Cheryl Davenport writes at Co.Exist that the Toms Shoes charity model is broken and must be fixed.

“The Toms buy-one-give-one model does not actually solve a social problem. Rather, the charitable act of donating a free pair of shoes serves as little more than a short-term fix in a system in need of long-term, multi-faceted economic development, health, sanitation, and education solutions. … The fact is, Toms isn’t designed to build the economies of developing countries. It’s designed to make western consumers feel good.”

People “helped” by Toms “are, in the long-term, no more able to afford shoes or address the real social, economic, and health issues that they face than they were before. Once their free shoes wear out in a couple years, the children Toms ‘helped’ will be just as susceptible to the health and economic perils associated with bare feet as they were before.”

“Toms can do more and do better,” Davenport says. She challenges the company and its consumers to make three changes. Read her proposals here.

Learn more about this issue by reading When Helping Hurts.

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2 thoughts on “Do Toms hurt more than help?

  1. Pingback: Idealism can betray the Mission «

  2. Lucia Hulsether: “TOMS’ invitations to step into the shoes of impoverished children are highly racialized”

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