Shoe4Africa started in November 1995 whilst the founder Toby Tanser was in Kenya for almost seven months. What was supposed to be a short holiday, became a seven month long life changing experience. To date Shoe4Africa has donated tens of thousands of running shoes to young people in Kenya, as well as having built four public schools and the first and largest children’s hospital in East Africa.
Tanser, a former elit-runner living in Stockholm at the time, traveled to East Africa for the first time in 1995. It was supposed to be a short holiday, but he ended up staying for seven months running and living with the Kenyans. He was humbled by the generosity of the people of Kenya, being taken in to their homes, but also by the living conditions that some of them were facing. When Tanser left Kenya in April 1996, he did so by giving his last pair of dusty running shoes away at the airport to a needy taxi driver who wanted to start running in an attempt to change his life. A shoeless Tanser was then arrested at the airport in Paris, and upon arriving to a snowy Stockholm a kind woman offered him a ride. In turn, she ended up donating her shoes, and this was the start of a project that a few years later became Shoe4Africa.