DIY Project Helps Impoverished Communities Create Their Own Shoes

An ‘open solution’ company uses sustainable materials to provide shoes for Malawi natives.

A new charitable project has given term “DIY” more context than its acronym suggests. Korean designer Lee Jinyoung began the Klem Project with the mission to put a pair of shoes on every foot in Malawi. The project provides material for people to easily make their own footwear with DIY kits that come with fabric, which the wearer can shape to his or her foot, and a piece of recycled tire for the sole.

Jinyoung first introduced the Klem Project when he was working for a design project on SBS television and noticed that people living in poor conditions depend on foreign aid for a large chunk of their living requirements. Rather than throwing more money at the problem, he sought a solution that would help people help themselves.

The Klem Project, in a sense, builds on the mission of Tom’s shoes, which aims to give one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair sold. By putting the necessary materials directly in the hands of the people, Klem allows them to make the shoes that they need, that work for their specific feet and uses.

“Klem” comes from the child’s name “Klementi,” which symbolizes succeeding after a life of hardship. One can hope that with these shoes more children will have this name as local populations won’t have to worry about their footwear anymore, so can focus on surmounting other hardships.

Klem Project

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