Change Makers

Kenton Lee, Practical Compassion and ‘The Shoe that grows’

Because International NGO

Kenton Lee, founder of the social venture Because International, believes in practical compassion. The projects The Shoes that Grows taken by the non-profit organization seconds his philosophy. They are aimed at helping people living in extreme poverty to have a better daily life.

How and why Kenton Lee(Founder, Because International) started?

Innovation without limits

Here’s a small bio on Kenton Lee. He went to Northwest Nazarene University. He holds a minor in Business, Religion; a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Masters of Divinity. Whilst at Regis University, Kenton obtained his Masters of Non-profit Management and Masters of Organizational Leadership. After school, Kenton lived in Kenya while he worked with an orphanage of 140 children whose parents passed away from TB caused by HIV/AIDS. In April 2009, Kenton founded Because International.

Kenton’s venture works on bringing innovation to something already established, by introducing new methods, ideas or products. It focuses on putting children in the best possible position to succeed through new innovations, specifically by improving current tools and resources used in daily, regular life.

The venture wholly believes in the theory of practical compassion and works towards it. The projects undertaken by the company helps people living in the extreme property and create an innovative solution to make their life better. The innovations are mostly designed to put children in a position to succeed. Currently, there are two projects: The Shoe That Grows and the Bednet Buddy.

The Shoe That Grows

The shoe that grows

It was during 2007 while Kenton Lee was working in Nairobi that he got inspiration to build a shoe that grows. When he was walking with kids, he noticed a young girl struggling with a shoe that was small for her feet which made him think of manufacturing a shoe that can be adjusted so that kids always had a pair of shoe that fits.

Kenton and his team started their research on building it but they struggled through rejection from shoe companies. Finally, after five years The Shoe That Grows was born.

What is The Shoe that Grows and its start

As far as the team is considered, the biggest achievement was also their biggest obstacle: the original creation of The Shoe That Grows. The team members admit that they knew nothing about shoes, and it took a long while – None of them was shoe person, they just had a great idea. They are still striving to make The Shoe the best it can be. They listen to the feedback of those who distribute and receive shoes, then adjust to create the best possible shoe.

The distribution channel of Because International works in a different mode. Rather than create their own distribution channels, Because International instead partners with those already serving these children and rely on others to deliver shoes to kids that need them most. People living in or traveling to areas in need can join the distribution network with a donation. Based on the level of gift, these donors become eligible to distribute shoes to kids in need.

Here is an advice from Kenton to be noted, “My advice would be that anyone and everyone can be a part of practical compassion.  Small things – little things, one thing, tiny things – can make a big difference.  And we all can do small things.  We all can do one thing.  So everyone can be a part of practical compassion.”

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