The idea for ‘Carry for Kids’ evolved over a number of years. In the late 1980s I heard of an Irish woman, Christina Noble who was performing wonderful work in Vietnam. She had set up a centre for street Children and orphans in Ho Chi Minh City. I made an immediate decision to visit Vietnam and collect things the children might need. I was amazed by people’s generosity and on the day I checked in for my flight to Vietnam realised for the first time the real fears of ‘excess luggage’!
The next day my companion Shirley Cribb and myself hired 2 cyclos. Laden with 2 suitcases a piece we made our way to the Christina Noble Foundation.
As we made our way back to the hotel after handing over our donations it occurred to me what a wonderful thing we had done. It was a precious, joyful moment in time. The most satisfying travel experience of my life. However the biggest revelation? How easy it all was. Unbelievably easy! With so little effort on our part we had made an important difference to the lives of these children.
I have repeated this experience in other destinations. It always remains a highlight of my travels. Collecting for the children is a special part of planning for my trip. For most orphanages and special schools in developing countries the only way they can receive material donations from the outside world is by travellers making this journey. Donations unaccompanied usually finish up unclaimed, as the centres do not have the funds to pay the heavy customs and duty payable on such goods.
One can imagine if all travellers took a small parcel for the children what a different world it would be. If every passenger on one Airbus A-330 flight carried one tube of toothpaste for the children there would be enough toothpaste to last an average orphanage 12 months!
With the assistance of Kathy Orfanos, Vanessa Lowe, Anna Rulla, Duc Le, Emmanuelle Barone & Brian Hayes QC and Destination Asia the project has grown and helped improve thousands of childrens’ lives. Our sincere thanks to everyone (too many to name) who have volunteered their time. All but one person involved with Carry For Kids is a volunteer. Our Administration Officer receives a small salary.
Carry for Kids aims to educate and assist other travellers wanting to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children. Directing travellers to reputable projects where their effort and donations will not go to waste. Next time you are preparing for a trip overseas take a few minutes to pack for the children and let their joy be your ultimate travelling reward.