Professional athletes Shriyans Bhandari and Ramesh Dhami have come up with a great innovation which is not only environment-friendly but also beneficial for social good. Both came up with this idea when they used to throw away at least three pairs of shoes every year.
They started an organization named GreenSole that refurbishes old shoes into comfortable and trendy footwear for hundreds of children who walk to school.
Shriyans said, "Shoes become unfit for running quickly and we had to throw ours away even though their soles used to be in good condition. The shoes were expensive and we were stuck with this problem for a long time. After discarding many pairs and months of brainstorming later, we came up with GreenSole. Initially, we thought we would just reuse those shoes and make footwear for personal use. But the idea grew into a social business venture and we decided to help underprivileged children by providing them with refurbished shoes".
Shriyans and Ramesh who started this organization in 2013 with their own shoes, has now 17 corporate partners to support its noble cause. These partnership companies started the collection within their offices and pay GreenSole to refurbish or renew the shoes and donate them in villages. Also, they conducted collection drives across the country on its own which is tied up with many schools and colleges and installed drop boxes in public places like parks.
Post the collection of the shoes, they are being sent to the GreenSole’s manufacturing unit in Navi Mumbai where the team washes and disassembles them to separate the soles and uppers.
Shriyans explained, "Instead of melting the shoes like many shoe manufacturers do, we refurbish them so there is minimal carbon emission".
Till now GreenSole has donated 10,000 pairs of footwear. Donors can send their shoes via courier. The organization accepts virtually all kinds of footwear except for children’s shoes and shoes/sandals with heels.
Shriyans said, “We also conduct awareness campaigns about the benefits of wearing footwear at places where we go to donate shoes. We make sure that kids are not going to school barefoot. It is a great feeling to see them wearing those slippers, running and playing".
The 21-year-old did his Master’s in entrepreneurship from the US. His co-founder Ramesh is a national level marathoner who comes from Uttarakhand.
You can also contribute and help these guys in their social cause by contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.