BUSAN, Apr. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — A startup business run by Tongmyong University students is paving the path for a new way to help prevent children in developing countries from contracting elephantiasis, by sending them shoes made from old street banners.
The startup company, named “GGOOMer (Dreamer)”, made 350 pairs of shoes with the help of the Footwear Industry Promotion Center after raising starting capital through crowd funding.
GGOOMer was established last year by three students, including fourth-year business administration student Yun Jae-seo, who heads the company, with the aim of transforming some of the enormous quantity of used banners in South Korea into shoes to help tackle elephantiasis in places like Africa.
The parasitic infection that causes extreme swelling to the arms and legs is commonly called “elephantiasis” due to the elephant-like appearance of affected areas of the body.
More than 1 billion people are thought to be at risk of infection, with one third living in Africa, according to the Mectizan Donation Program.
Children heavily affected by the symptoms of elephantiasis are physically disadvantaged, with many unable to even attend school.
The university startup says it is planning to sell 150 pairs of the shoes at a local creative shop, while donating 100 pairs from the first production run to children in Ethiopia, and 50 to Cambodian children.