If you're looking for a way to give back while giving gifts this holiday season, you may want to pick up a pair of these flip-flops that are so much more than just footwear.
Rob and Paul Forkan are the founders of Gandys, a flip-flop brand made of natural materials. The brothers created their company as a way to honor their parents, Sandra and Kevin Forkan, who were killed during the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
Kevin and Sandra dedicated their lives to helping other people. In 2001, they sold their South London home and told their four children they could bring whatever fit in a backpack. The family left England and traveled the world, embarking on humanitarian projects and volunteer work, learning about other cultures while trying to make a positive impact in developing countries.
The Forkans were visiting Sri Lanka when the 2004 tsunami hit. Rob and Paul, who were 17 and 15 at the time, survived the disaster by clinging to the roof of a building. Their parents managed to save their younger sisters, Mattie and Rosie, before being swept away.
The Forkan children, now orphans, were forced to hitchhike across the country to make it back to Britain, where they were cared for by members of their extended family.
The brothers, now older and out of school, wanted to find a way to honor their parents' philanthropic spirit while helping others. That's when they created Gandys flip-flops, where all proceeds go to providing care to orphans.
The business began in the brothers' small one bedroom apartment, but it's grown considerably -- they recently signed a deal with retailer Accessorize to sell their flip-flops in stores across the UK. A portion of the proceeds of flip-flops sold at Accessorize stores will go to Sri Lankan charities.
Peter Simon, Founder of Accessorize, has a personal connection to the brothers' mission, as he was born in Sri Lanka. "It just feels right to support these young entrepreneurs," he said. "The Forkan brothers are truly inspirational and creating a company embodying such ethical principles fits with our own brand values."
Proceeds from sales of their flip-flops go to their Orphans for Orphans initiative. They've also been able to fund a teacher and a nurse in India, and bought school supplies for 100 children in Asia.
The Forkan brothers hope that they can eventually raise enough money to open their first children's home in Goa, India by the 10th anniversary of the tsunami.
Head to the Gandys website to pick up a pair for yourself.