Born and raised in the small village of Benesti in communist Romania, Samuel Bistrian knows what it’s like to grow up in poverty. After Bistrian and his family moved to the United States, his parents taught him and his 11 siblings to never forget where they came from, to be grateful for their blessings, and to always give back to the less fortunate. While attending Dallas Baptist University, Bistrian dedicated his free time to charitable causes and organizations. He frequently traveled to impoverished nations, helping build schools and orphanages, and served as a youth camp missionary during his summer breaks. In 2001, he returned to his home country for the first time since migrating to America. Romania was no longer under communist rule, but people were still living in poverty. Children walked in the rain and snow with inadequate footwear and sometimes in their bare feet.

After graduating college, Bistrian joined the retail industry and worked at a major department store in Dallas for a few years. He continued helping the less fortunate in his home country by sending clothes, shoes, and money, and going back to Romania yearly to serve as a missionary. Still, he felt that he wasn’t making a big enough impact, so in 2010, Bistrian decided to start a charity-based company. He sold his car and some other possessions, and with the help of his friends and family, founded Roma Boots.

Named after the Roma people (Gypsies), Roma Boots combines fashion with charity to help street children and orphans break out of the cycle of poverty. For every pair of rain boots sold in the US, Roma Boots donates a pair to a child in need living in cold and wet climates. Roma Boots also seeks to provide an education for these children, so 10 percent of all sales proceeds go to the company’s non-profit subsidiary, Roma for All. By empowering underserved children to fight the cycle of poverty and getting them back into the education system, they can learn to take care of themselves, contribute their talents to society, and help make the world a better place.