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North Oldham grad partners with Crocs to outfit 80 African children with shoes

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By Marion Taylor

Dozens of children in Africa now have shoes on their feet thanks to the efforts of a La Grange woman.
Elizabeth Plumley recently helped outfit 80 children with shoes thanks to a generous donation from Crocs Inc.
Plumley, a North Oldham High School graduate from La Grange, recently traveled to the village of Akaa, in the eastern region of Ghana, Africa.  
She became involved in the cause of the Akaa Project at the College of Wooster.  
The Akaa Project is a non-profit organization that works alongside families in Akaa to alleviate poverty and promote self reliance.  
The group focuses on strategies to improve the health, education and financial well being of the village’s families.  
They are currently helping the people of Akaa build a school for their children, establish access to healthcare and enhance community finances through small business initiatives.  
 “We’re working on making it more sustainable,” Plumley said. “We’re trying to get them involved in projects, but eventually we want the community to take them on.”  
She solicited donations from a variety of retailers in the United States and Crocs Inc. responded happily to the opportunity to help children in need.  Since 2007, Crocs has donated more 2.6 million pairs of shoes to people in need, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Plumley had seen photos of children in the village running around without shoes and she automatically thought of Crocs.  She said the shoes filled an entire suitcase.   
Lauren Grimanis, co-founder of the Akaa Project, says Crocs are the ideal shoe for the weather and terrain in Ghana and will keep children free of ringworm and infections.  
“Crocs are really durable, it’s good for all seasons and will last a long time,” Plumley added.  She also mentioned how children can pass these shoes on to their younger siblings.  
Plumley did not expect her visit to have such a profound impact on her life.  
“You can see pictures, but until you actually get there you don’t get it,” she said.
She described how grateful the children were for their shoes.  
“They’re so affectionate.  It’s instant gratification.  They just really appreciate us coming there,” Plumley said.  
Plumley’s next project is to provide school uniforms for the students when she returns to Ghana in December.

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E-mail us about this story at: mtaylor@oldhamera.com.