Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Darryl Carnley, founder of the nonprofit organization My360Project. The mission of this company is clear in its tagline: Giving Shoes, Saving Lives.
But how can a pair of shoes save lives? And what does it have to do with us? Let’s dive in together and find out.
What led Carnley and his wife, Pauline, to the decision to start My360Project? He says it was primarily, seeing the need kids had for shoes. Shoes mean health and access to education. But it didn’t stop there. They also wanted to come up with a solution to provide much-needed work in the same regions where people needing shoes lived. Carnley states, “We knew we wanted to empower communities with our builds. We truly wanted to disrupt the cycle of poverty.”
In July 2017, the company officially became a nonprofit, after years of dreaming and working. In fact, nearly two years prior, Carnley met with Mike Friton, a former Nike developer. They began the research and development process on their specific shoe, now known as the 360Mox, in 2016, leading up to a 1.5-year span where they worked on the beta test design. Carnley says it was not a simple process.
“A lot was going into this. First, we wanted to do an easy build shoe. One that we could build in the jungles of Africa. I wanted to give ladies there jobs, but what if we ended up having no electricity? Second, not only did it have to be a simple build, but it also had to be a correct option for a foot that has never worn a shoe. This is where Mike and his knowledge really came in. And last, we needed the shoe to have the ability to grow a few sizes, which the Mox does,” Carnley shares.
The name 360Mox comes from the similarity the shoe type bears to that of a moccasin. The shoe is adjustable in just about every way and comes in four sizes. According to their website, the shoe can “expand in the heel, toe, and on each side.” In addition, the shoes are repairable, and as much as possible, the company tries to locally source.
To date, over 5,000 kids have benefited from the work of My360Project in 13 different countries. It was important to Carnley, however, that we know this is not your average shoe drop. “We want kids to have shoes. But, we want it done correctly. And it needs to follow our protocol. We want to provide good jobs, put money into their economy, and then see a child blown away and blessed by a holy pedicure,” he says. The team and volunteers spend time with the kids, they wash the feet of the children and then they place the shoes on them. Their process exists to ensure people feel seen and valued.
This concept also extends to the local artisans who create the shoes. Artisans in this organization come from difficult backgrounds, such as high poverty and trafficking. The goal of the program is to train artisans over the course of a year working with My360Project and from there, to help them establish themselves or even their own business. “They are learning to live well. They are in programs to help them. And we are helping offer practical steps for them to succeed within their community,” Carnley says.
How can we get involved with My360Project?
Carnley says there are multiple things we can do. Financially, the company needs people to sponsor shoes. Becoming a shoe hero takes $35 to sponsor a pair of shoes, in turn changing the life of a kid. Another simple thing is to use AmazonSmile for their company. They also need people to get the word out about what they are doing. In short, just tell others. Click here to learn more and consider coming alongside to support them in their world-changing effort.
Also, be on the lookout for new things coming out of My360Project in the near future. They are currently in the process of launching a program that would intertwine art, sponsoring shoes, and kids who need to receive the shoes. Imagine your kid painting a pair of Mox and then receiving a photo of a child receiving the pair of shoes they worked on. I can’t wait to continue watching the amazing things coming out of this nonprofit!