Teacher seeks truckies’ help to get donated thongs to the Kimberley

A preschool teacher who has collected thousands of pairs of thongs to donate to remote communities in the Kimberley is now seeking the help of truckies to get them where they’re needed.

Kirsten Goldsmith will be moving from Billinudgel in NSW to the Kimberley next year to teach in a remote community.

“I asked if there was anything I could bring with me and they said they have teacher resources coming out of their ears but one of the issues they have is children getting hookworm, which is super preventable just by wearing thongs,” she said.

“Hookworm is actually more prevalent than you would think. It just takes having a tiny nip in your foot for them to come in – and once you have it, it can be hard to diagnose.

“Not wearing shoes can be quite a cultural thing. Some don’t love wearing shoes because of the connection with the earth, so it’s about changing the mindset and keeping yourself healthy and safe too.”

When Goldsmith put the call out for thongs to be donated on social media, the response she received was overwhelming. She was able to collect over 2000 pairs – or two pallets worth.

That’s much more than the community needs, so she’s partnered with a charity who’s going to help distribute the thongs right across the Kimberley.

Now Goldsmith just needs to find a way to get them from Billinudgel, NSW, to Kununurra in WA, as the freight costs are more than she had anticipated.

The pallets are shrink-wrapped and ready to go and she’s hoping to find some truckies with room for two extra pallets, who are headed in that direction. She’s also started a GoFundMe page to help off-set the costs.

Goldsmith has also been in contact with Women in Trucking Australia Ltd (WiTA), which is working behind the scenes to help find a way to get the pallets across Australia to where they’re needed. “Women in Trucking Australia has been really great,” she said.

Since the call-out was shared on the WiTA Facebook page, Goldsmith says numerous truckies have come forward offering to transport the thongs for part of the leg. “Now we’re trying to figure out the connections and are slowly piecing things all together. I’m super thankful for the outpouring of generosity from everyone. I’m hoping we can get the thongs to the Kimberley by Christmas.”

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