“Only education can save poor children”. This is the creed of a young Romanian living in the United States of America who returned to his home country after 20 years to help impoverished children. He created a business through which he gives away a part of the profit to the poor: He sells rubber boots, and with each purchased pair, another one is given freely to a child. 6.500 pairs of boots have already clothed the naked feet of the poor throughout the world. His gesture impressed America and the stars from Hollywood sustain his campaign unconditionally. “Some need a spark, you know? To take the initiative and realize that they too can really do something that matters. I myself, for a very long time, thought that I can’t. Who am I? A peasant child from a small village… And while living in America, I had a good career and I thought to myself, ‘Can I actually do something?’ Yes! Every person can do something. One only needs to take action! ” The young man who clothes in red, yellow and blue boots the naked feet of the poor children living on the world’s streets, is a Romanian: Samuel Bistrian. Returning home after 20 years, he covers the feet of the poor children and discovers their minds. He teaches them the art of giving to the little ones what they are receiving right now: He educates them. “They fit! They fit!”
“Do you like them?” “Yes! They fit!” He was only a child when he left the country, so he struggles speaking Romanian. But he did not forget his language, as he did not forget Romania, to which he returns today, helping the needy children. ‘Buy a pair of boots, for every boot that you purchase one will be donated to a child in need. ‘ Long story short, he created a business, and from the cost of one pair of boots sold he can afford to give one for free. His story is already well-known among the stars from Hollywood who offered their unconditional support: Elyse Levesque, Alison Sweeney, Jes Macallan, Laura Bush or Brad Garrett are only a few of those who believed in his dream. “Bună ziua! (Hello!) Are you sure this isn’t African?” “It’s bună ziua.” “Bună ziua! which means PRO TV.” In 2010 he created Roma Boots, a company that produces colored boots made of rubber and which he sells between 40 and 90 dollars, telling people his personal story. Born in a small village near Arad, in a 12-children family, Samuel remembers the day he received his first pair of rubber boots. Not the color, neither the form made him happy, but the fact that he could play without getting his feet wet, without being cold, without thinking that they might tear apart. The Revolution brought for him and his family the freedom to leave for a new world: the United States of America. He was 8 when he left Romania. For a while, they lived in Chicago, than in Tennessee, in a house they obtained through the program Habitat for Humanity. His parents are Baptists and raised their children in the Faith. “We have taught our children to be respectful to their parents, to people, to greet people on the street from school back home and so on, and never to offend anyone.” About Romania, Samuel had few memories. He was going to rediscover it after 10 years when he first returned home, when, as a student, he was working for an Airline Company. The following years brought him a Colombian wife, 2 daughters and a sales post in one of the most exclusive retailers in the world: Neiman Marcus. In brief, he felt that life was passing him by. A meeting with a gentleman who produced shoes while donating the second pair to the needy changed his life. He remembered his first rubber boots and the joy it brought him, and he knew that this is what he would set out to do: He will sell such boots, using the knowledge accumulated from Neiman Marcus and help from some of his clients. He got in contact with two of his customers who are also his friends. After a while, listening to his story, influential people from Dallas offered to support him unconditionally. On April 3rd, on his birthday, he resigned from Neiman Marcus, and on May 3rd he was already on his way to China to search for a factory to create them, after the attempts to find one in Romania have failed. Everything he gained so far, he had invested in his home and other assets he was going to sell afterwards to get the money for the business. His wife encouraged him, although they had no certainty that they will succeed. Samuel knew that his plans were about to become life lessons for his daughters as well: Ilona and Emma. They are too small now to understand his message, but he knows that one day they will be part of the Roma Boots team. He brought in our country the first thousand pair of rubber boots in the colors of the Romanian flag in the same year he created the business: In 2010. After he made his appearance in the press and participated at some events, trying to sell his boots, Samuel became a star among some celebrities from Hollywood. One of the main characters in the series Everybody Loves Raymond, Brad Garrett, was the one who believed the most in the Romanian’s vision. He met the famous actor in Los Angeles, at a charity event, where Samuel went to sell boots. And one of the stars from American Idol will accompany him to Romania next year, to bring boots to the children. He sold so far 6.500 pairs of boots and another 6.500 pairs reached the poor children from Romania, Moldova, Nepal, Honduras or Guatemala. The last 500 pairs were given to the little ones in a community of Roma people near Brasov, a month ago. “Let’s sit down!” “Mr., will you also give my brother a 34 one?” “And what’s your name?” “Georgiana!” “We put away the flip-flops and let’s see. They fit, don’t they? ” Next year he wants to build in Romania the first learning center where to teach the children how to read and write, because, in our country, more than 250.000 of the children are illiterate. A first emplacement was offered to him by the mayor from the city in which he made the last donation. ‘For these children to come out of their poverty, the most practical and elementary thing is to educate them! And we have a very simple curriculum which teaches the children to read and write.’ Today, after 3 years since beginning his business, he lives humbly. He owns an apartment in Dallas, he does not own a car anymore, and all the money he gains he reinvests. Recently, he opened a store inside an art gallery where he sells, also for poor children, paintings that are donated by artists. Kevin Page, who played, among other, in Robocop, Seinfeld or Baywatch, donated a work. With the money raised he will continue helping the impoverished children of the world. He is grateful to the country from which he left and in which, one day, he will return for good to give children the chance to get out of poverty by learning, to read and write, but most of all, to give. Gazing all these things, he feels joy. He is one of those people who learned that kindness comes from love. He dreams about the day he will return home, in Romania, in the country he rediscovered after 20 years with a smell of Spring.