Top UK footwear brand is stepping up to fight forgotten disease and challenging the shoe industry to follow in their footsteps

Pavers, the family-owned footwear business, has teamed up with an overseas charity to fulfil their promise of delivering comfy shoes to those most in need.

Lepra, which is based in the UK, runs projects in India, Bangladesh and

Mozambique fighting against neglected diseases such as leprosy – the biblical disease most people think is long gone when in actual fact over 600 people are diagnosed each day.

The infectious disease is entirely curable but the problem is that many

people aren’t aware of this and, in places of extreme poverty, the symptoms often go untreated. People affected by the disease can lose feeling in parts of their body, including their feet. When a person can no longer feel their feet, they can develop ulcers and injuries without even realising it, simply from walking to and from work. This is where Pavers come in…

They have funded one of Lepra’s mobile shoe vans which travels across

the Indian state of Bihar delivering custom-made shoes to those affected by leprosy and other neglected diseases such as lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis). Each day the technicians measure and make shoes of various designs that enable people to walk pain-free. The shoes also go one step further in allowing individuals to continue to work and earn a living often preventing them from falling further into poverty.

Stuart Paver, the managing director of the York-based company, recently

went out to visit the van in Bihar and saw what a difference it was making to people’s lives.

“It was an incredible privilege to be able to see the van working in the

community and to see how effectively and efficiently it is being used to help people with leprosy and other debilitating conditions. Over 5,000 people have benefitted from shoes made by the small team of technicians that dedicate themselves to helping the people within the leprosy camps.”

The 5,000 produced by this van contribute to the 25,880 pairs of shoes

that Lepra was able to deliver across India and Bangladesh last year alone. The charity says that £6 is enough to provide a person with two pairs of protective shoes.

Stuart adds: “Lepra is a great charity and delivers real value for money in

everything it does on the ground. For me it’s important that our money is getting to the needy rather than being spent on fancy offices or marketing campaigns. The impact of what we are doing is changing thousands of people’s lives for a modest investment”.

“I talked to a lady who, prior to being given the customised footwear, had

ulcers on her feet that were so bad she could not move to cook, shop or even go to the toilet. Now she is an active member of the community and can walk to the shops and take her children to the state school.”

For more information about Pavers, visit:

Lepra’s life-changing work in improving the lives of people affected by

disease, doesn’t just stop at shoes. They deliver healthcare services, train healthcare workers and run education campaigns. Their work in tackling disease, poverty and prejudice has had such an impact on Stuart that he wants the whole British shoe industry to get involved.

“We will continue to fund this life changing product and ideally I would

love the shoe industry to fund another one or two vans to operate in other affected regions of this forgotten about disease.”

If you’d like to find out more about Lepra life-changing work and how your business can be involved, visit: or contact Daisy Turner, Major Partnerships Manager on or 01206 216 700 10 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • JANUARY 2017

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