At the age of 13, Sia was concerned that people in her neighbourhood were not wearing footwear. She noticed adults and children with bruised and swollen feet and saw how construction labourers, families and street vendors were all working barefoot in hazardous conditions.
Discovering that 350 million pairs of footwear are discarded annually, she launched ‘Sole Warriors’, a non-profit collecting footwear from privileged communities and donating them to those in need. Over the past 18 months, Sole Warriors have collected over 20,000 pairs from, 6000 households, and, by working with a partner organisation, has been able to refurbish 2,500 pairs of shoes.
Sia leads and inspires a group of 50 volunteers and 8 supporting organisations, growing in confidence with each presentation she has given. Sole Warriors has now spread to two other countries: the USA and Liberia.
Sia now goes into schools and corporations, such as Tesco and Teradata, encouraging people to reflect on their own footwear usage. In four years’ time, Sia hopes to reach one million feet through Sole Warriors.