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People with disabilities often face social biases that leave them feeling left out of society.

While the world is learning to be more inclusive in its attitudes towards those with disabilities, there is still much work to do. Pakistani shoe brand Soma is playing its part this Ramzan in a collaboration with Special Olympics Pakistan through its outreach program Soma Care.

The upcoming line will feature shoes designed and painted by Special Olympics athletes. All proceeds will go directly to athletes. Revenue generated from each shoe will be handed over to the person who’s made the shoe while Soma is covering all production costs.


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For Samia Akram, the CEO at Soma, this is a way to give back to society. “I love working with them,” she says, “I just feel more useful in life. When you’re running a business, you get lost in the day-to-day problems and have doubts about whether you’re doing the right thing. When I’m working with Special Olympics athletes, I feel like I’m giving back.”

The athletes make their designs on paper and then replicate them on the material used to make the shoes. Soma’s karigars (craftsmen) then stitch the shoes together. The result is a product that shows the power of collaboration across different groups of society.

“The whole process makes them feel like a part of society,” says Akram, “They feel appreciated and independent, and this gives them so much confidence. It gives them happiness, which makes me happy.”

Soma has been running this initiative for the past five years, collaborating with Special Olympics athletes every few months. Previous lines have been received with much enthusiasm, says Akram, and people are always keen to support the effort. The upcoming line is going to be launched within the next two weeks and will be available all year round.

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