Different Shoes Day

Date 15th. September, 2023
Time 12:01 AM - 11:59 PM
Place Latvia
Different Shoes Day

With the "Different Shoes Day", all of Latvia is invited to express support for the target groups of deinstitutionalization

To truly understand another person, you have to walk in their shoes, says an old saying. Only by understanding and accepting the different can we build a more inclusive society. Therefore, on September 15, every resident of Latvia is invited to wear a different shoe on each foot, symbolically expressing their support for the target groups of deinstitutionalization – children with functional disorders and their families, people with mental disorders and children left without parental care. Special events will be held in Riga, Jelgava, Valmiera, Ventspils and Ludza, but the "Different Shoes Day" will also be brought to life in social networks and elsewhere in Latvia.

Everyone is unique, each person is a personality with their own desires and needs, and even those fellow human beings who seem strange, different and incomprehensible want to be loved, accepted and understood - just like each of us. Prejudice and negative attitude of society is the biggest barrier for children with functional disorders and their families, people with mental disorders and children left without parental care to build a life outside of institutions and integrate into society. Ministry of Welfare in the campaign "Step into the other's shoes!" invites everyone to put themselves in the situation of fellow human beings and find not the different, but the common.

On September 15th, everyone can express their support and show it to others by wearing a different shoe on each foot for the whole day or for a moment, announcing it on social media, but for those who express surprise, reminding everyone that everyone wants to be understood and accepted, and the different there is no reason in us to push back and turn away.

At 11:00 at the events in Riga, Jelgava, Valmiera, Ventspils and Ludza, those present will take part in the creation of the art object "Step into another's shoes", symbolizing the agreement on common values: during the event, participants are invited to express themselves creatively and to jointly paint oversized shoes. But after the event, there will be an opportunity to get involved in creative workshops organized and led by social service day centers in order to get to know better the everyday life of people with mental and functional disabilities.

You can participate in the activities of "Different Shoes Day" both individually and together with colleagues, friends, classmates and other like-minded people. You can also involve those around you, for example, by implementing the "Different Shoes Day" at the workplace, at your own or at your children's educational institution, etc. c. Such powerful Latvian companies as Printful, Accenture and Go3, as well as Anete Bendika, Māra Upmane-Holšteine, Beāte Jonīte, Laura Grēviņa and other well-known people have already expressed their support for the initiative. You can also show your support on social networks by marking your participation in the "Diverse Shoes Day" event on Facebook.

"Ingrained ideas about each other prevent us from building an inclusive and mutually respectful society. With explanatory work and a supportive attitude, we can achieve a lot - more accepting, safer fellow human beings and a generally more harmonious society. It is important to notice and accept that among us there are people with mental disorders, children with disabilities and children in out-of-home care who feel, love, rejoice and experience just like any other human being. I invite people all over Latvia, in person or on social networks, to symbolically step into each other's shoes, expressing support for an inclusive society, because there is enormous power in diversity," says Evika Siliņa, Minister of Welfare.

With the financial support of European Union funds, deinstitutionalization projects are being implemented in Latvia, within the framework of which, in many places, places of provision of services more appropriate to people's needs are created and community-based services are offered, which open the possibility for people with special needs and also children who are forced to live in out-of-home care to integrate into society. .

As part of the campaign, it is planned to publish 15 personal stories, a special test and an expert discussion on the campaign website. Also, in cooperation with the content creator Edart TV, a documentary short film was created that will reveal the everyday life of people with special needs, as well as children in orphanages, allowing you to "step into their shoes".

In turn, every young person between the ages of 14 and 25 is invited to participate in the competition and creatively portray one of the three themes of the competition:

  • "Step into the other's shoes: people with mental disorders";

  • "Step into the other's shoes: children with functional disabilities";

  • "Stepping into each other's shoes: children living or having lived in institutional out-of-home care".

The contest rules can be found on the contest website.

The event is organized by: Labklājības ministrija