The following are the answers to questions that I am commonly asked. However, if your particular question is not covered here, feel free to email me directly.
1/ Do I need to email Carry For Kids prior to departure?
The following projects require an appointment to be made and you should email four weeks prior to departure to arrange a suitable time. Carry For Kids and many of the projects rely one hundred per cent on volunteers. As such their ability to process and reply to the vast amount of emails received is limited. If you apply well in advance all concerned have time to process your request before departure.
Bali Kids, Christina Noble Foundation, Green Gecko Project, New Hope For Cambodian Children, Lorenzo Home, Sunrise Nepal.
We cannot organise visits outside of visiting hours.
Do I need to book transport through Carry For Kids?
It is not necessary provided your driver is clear about the location of the project being visited. I strongly recommend your driver call the facility before setting out to ensure they are clear on the exact location of the project. Transport booked through Carry For Kids must be paid directly to the operator. Costs vary depending on where you are located in relation to the project being visited. Four weeks notice is required.
Am I allowed to meet the children?
Provided you stay within the guidelines and regulations of the centre most allow contact with the children. It is not a good idea however to lift, hug or carry young children. This can reduce the child’s sense of ‘stranger danger’ and place the child at risk. Giving gifts directly to a child can also exacerbate this risk. Best to shake their hand or make a cultural gesture. Older children often like to practice their english.
How should I pack my donations?
Best to pack in your regular luggage or buy a strong plastic zip bag from your local bargain store. Ensure you lable the luggage with the projects address and phone number in case the bag should go astray. Economy class passengers are allowed 20 kgs and Business class passengers 30 kgs of checked baggage. Best to stay within your limits as airlines are strict on weight limits. Certain airlines will grant an extra 10 kgs but you should apply at least 2 months in advance directly to the carrier or your travel agent. Airlines rarely allow extra weight during peak travel periods and will not accept responsibility for damage or loss of excess baggage uplifted free of charge.
Will Customs be a problem?
Avoid carrying large quantities of an individual item. Customs may feel you are setting up shop or bringing in the goods for commercial reasons. Best to carry a range of different things from the respective wishlist. Each country has a limit in relation to the value of goods you can import. On average between USD250 to USD350 per passenger. Be honest with Customs if queried. Do not send goods unaccompanied. You will face huge costs once the goods reach their destination including bribes and government duty.
Are all donations acceptable?
A broken toy is of no more use to an underprivileged child than your own child. If you would not give it to your own child you have to think twice about why you would want to give it to an underprivileged child. Damaged toys can also cause injury. Clothing and toys should be washed before packing. Damaged clothing is not suitable. If the elastic is worn out, the clothing has holes or zip broken then best not to pack it. Most facilities struggle for funding and human resources are stretched. They do not have time to repair damaged clothing or toys etc. Their time is fully occupied taking care of the children. Do not pack soft or knitted toys which can help spread bacteria and parasites in an orphanage environment. Rather than give candy better to give cake, fruit jelly cups or fruit for the children.
Do I give my donations directly to the children?
Best to give donations to the Director or staff. As above giving items directly to the children poses a risk to the child’s safety.
Can I take photographs?
This depends on the policy of the centre. If photographs are allowed please do not upload the images on facebook or the internet. Naming a child and disclosing the child’s location with a photograph places the child at risk. Think about why you would want to upload a child’s photograph on the internet.
Will I be expected to make a monetary donation?
No your material goods are enough. There is no question the projects need cash donations to survive. If you give a cash donation please request a receipt. Some charities have tax deduction available if donations are made in your home country. So it may be better to give at home rather than on site.