≑ Menu

Donating to an orphanage

A few months ago, a girl working at our regular bakery worker told me about one of her colleagues, who was an orphan. She shared her experiences growing up in the orphanage and the young bakery girl was so moved by the story that she decided to share it with me too.

I think we are familiar with newspaper articles featuring stories about private organizations and individuals who donate various items and money to orphanages.

My previous work got me involved in various such community work as well and the saddest things I’ve heard people comment are:

“Wow, these orphans are so lucky! Their books and toys are even better than my kids’s! Why am I giving money to these kids when my own kids don’t even have such good toys?”

or

“The orphanage rejected our old clothes. Wah…life must be so good for them. Old clothes also don’t want.”

Did these women (yes, mothers!) stop to think:

ORPHANS DO NOT HAVE FATHERS OR MOTHERS OR EVEN A FAMILY

How can these children be lucky? They are lucky just because they have a roomful of toys? Honestly, think about it.

Will you call your child “lucky” if you or your husband died and left him/her all alone with his room of Baby Gap, OshKoh B’Gosh (or whatever designer brand) clothes, Fisher Price toys?

Anyway, now that my tot has outgrown her playpen (which is mostly used to hang bath towels and jackets!), I wondered if the orphanage might want it. I was glad to see that the bakery girl was around and she happily called them up to enquire. They said YES.

I was delighted because I made a custom order of a brand-new coconut husk mattress (costs about RMB300) for the playpen so that babies or toddlers could play/sleep comfortably in it during summer or winter.

The mattress maker kindly agreed to deliver the playpen and mattress to the orphanage for free but he charged me RMB20 for taking away the old mattress LOL

Digging around the cupboards, I found the following items and packed them in shopping bags. Instead of loading them with the mattress maker, I decided to call the orphanage first:

1. Old clothes and shoes

– Not wanted. They prefer new clothes because they didn’t want the risk of bacteria in old clothes affecting all the babies, toddlers and kids since they live together.

– They didn’t even want a hardly-worn winter jacket I’d bought too small for my boy or even some gently-used baby / toddler clothes πŸ™ I was heartbroken but Hubby reminded me that I’m supposed to help the kids, ok? Not feel sorry for myself! Takes a deep breath. I think my maid will want them to give to her neighbours because she was eyeing them while I packed the clothes.
– I only had a pair of toddler sleep overalls and a pack of IKEA bibs to give them. Think I’ll buy some new clothes for the kids. Or I’ll check what else they need.

In the end, my ayi took them away with her as she could distribute them among her neighbours who had babies or toddlers.

2. 2 900 g cans of SIMILAC Advance Formula for 0-12 months

– Expire in Nov 2011 (NOT part of the bath recalled! I checked on Abbott’s website, ok?)
– Each can cost me RM85+ (RMB170+) and they were excess we’d brought over last year in Dec. When the girl turned 1, I switched her to (cheaper!) full cream milk, which is why I have these extra cans. The small can on top has expired and have been thrown away.
– FYI, Abbott’s SIMILAC was the only brand of formula that my little girl could drink. I’d tried Anmum, Dumex, Lactogen and Snow but both her rashes stopped and her poo became regular on super expensive SIMILAC. The funny part is that she wasn’t compatible with SIMILAC-2 (6 months and above). Don’t ask me why, ok?
– The orphanage didn’t want them either but I’m going to assure her that it’s similar to the brands here. If any of the babies drink SIMILAC (popular in China), it’ll save them RMB450+. Let’s see how it goes? Even the mattress maker was surprised that the orphanage rejected the cans of milk. I know my maid will take them too.

3. New, unopened boxes of Heinz toddler cereals

– OK only because they are purchased. I guess they are more comfortable seeing familiar Chinese characters printed on them.
– I actually have a few boxes of organic toddler cereal but I don’t think they’ll take them! Sigh, I’ve got to make some cookies or something with them soon…

4. Money

Always welcome! However, I didn’t like the person I was talking to and neither did the bakery girl!

In any case, I plan to visit the orphanage one day to see for myself what’s the place like. When I asked for the address, I was surprised to hear that it’s on quite a high floor O_O

Aren’t orphanages usually on landed property with grassy, open spaces for the kids to play and run in???

In any case, I found another well-run orphanage, which I will support from now on.

I’m also checking out an old orphanage I used to volunteer at. The kids that I used to play with would be aged between 9-12 by now.

If you’d like to donate your old clothes, shoes, books and toys to orphanages, do call them up first? Also, remember:

“IF A BOOK, SHIRT, PANTS, SHOE OR TOY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOUR KID, IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ANOTHER KID, OK?”

I must remember that too. Even if that chocolate milk stained t-shirt or pants is almost as good as new, it’s gonna appear awful to the recipient. I know that when I was given hand-me-downs, I rejected old clothes that looked awful πŸ˜›

Click here if you’d like to donate to orphanages and causes in China.

Luckily, my ayi knows the history behind the chocolate milk or grape juice stains and she has a hard time throwing away some of the really “old” clothes. Even when I insist that they are seriously old i.e. our 4-5 year old grubby t-shirts and jeans and not fit to be worn by anyone, she thinks there is still some wear in it.

The next time I grumble about something I don’t like, please bonk me on the head and remind me about such simple folks, ok?

We are very, very, very blessed compared to millions of people around the world who are struggling to survive on a hand-to-mouth basis.

May God bless and keep children safe around the world.

Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Email this to someoneLike it?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shooi 2 June, 2011, 10:07 am

    I like this comment, “IF A BOOK, SHIRT, PANTS, SHOE OR TOY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOUR KID, IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ANOTHER KID, OK.”
    I know a colleague who will give away expired makeup and skin care to her part time maid. I disagree with that but she says she told them they were expired and they still want it.

  • Lilis 3 June, 2011, 1:18 pm

    couldn’t agree more, most of time, i donate milk (uht) & rice, or other needed items to usually the orphanage for toddlers. haven’t been to the babies one.
    clothes that don’t fit anymore mostly taken by maids, who will pick if they suit her/her family’s size or taste :p.
    your post really remind me to give thanks, a slap as I just grumble have to work in this long weekend, but hey, it’s a very easy job πŸ™‚ and it provides more income for future savings :p

  • Tiger Mom 3 June, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Shooi – You are right, she shouldn’t give them even if the poor maid wanted them! If I were her, I’d discard the contents and throw them when I’m at work. I couldn’t bear to think of anyone falling ill due to using my expired skincare and make-up.

    Lilis – Gosh, rice is a really good idea! Didn’t think about that, silly me…

    I’m so glad they agreed to take the milk. The mattress maker helped a lot coz he say that I really have kids and am not some awful person getting rid of tainted milk or something :S

    Sorry to hear you’ve got to work on the long weekend. I fully sympathize with you as I have to work next weekend!

    You know what helps? Looking at the two “monkeys'” faces remind me that the $$$ is going to be for them and then, I take a deep breath and get back to work πŸ˜‰

  • Chew Lee 3 June, 2011, 4:08 pm

    My mother said her best friend wanted those not so good Avent bottles. I was huh?? But they are not good anymore. But she insisted that since they are so expensive, it is such a waste to just throw them away.

    I have been buying 2nd hand clothes for both kids… it’s a big biz here, since clothes are normally expensive and u know, kids outgrow clothes so fast…

  • Tiger Mom 6 June, 2011, 6:10 am

    Chew Lee – I know what you mean about the old AVENT bottles. I think I still have some old ones at home. Haven’t figured out how to throw them away yet since they are “poisonous”.

    I don’t really dare buy secondhand kids clothes here or back home because I don’t know the history behind them. The orphanage refused old children’s clothes because she feared that bacteria from previous infections may still lurk in them because parents may not have disinfected the clothes properly.

    She has to look out for the babies and toddlers at the orphanage and I see her point of view especially as hand-foot-mouth-disease is still rampant because of poor hygiene. I remember being worried about HFMD when I was pregnant – imagine the nightmare at an orphanage if all the babies and toddlers got infected!

  • Lilis 6 June, 2011, 12:40 pm

    i don’t have the guts to buy 2nd secondhand clothes, just too afraid about the hygene, and clothes aren’t that expensive here. but i’ve received alot hand-down children’s books from relatives and also sometimes i found 2nd books that still in great condition.
    another idea for you, maybe you can donate children’s story books, school items like bags,pencils, crayon, drawing books, etc. i prefer those to fill a goody bags than chips snacks etc :p

  • Paik Ling 6 June, 2011, 4:56 pm

    Good on you, Kittycat!!!

  • Tiger Mom 8 June, 2011, 6:54 am

    Lilis – Ya, orphanages love good quality children’s books. I’d sent a box of baby, toddler and preschool books to a new orphanage and the director was delighted. I just hope that there are people and volunteers around to read the books to the kids!

    The “school bag” instead of the goody bag of junk food is a really nice idea especially for orphanages with school-going kids πŸ˜€

    Paik Ling – It’s nothing much really. Wish I was Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, then I’d really be able to do “something”.

  • Peter Yelchuri 26 June, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Honorable
    Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. First of all I praise God for this wonderful opportunity to share my ministry activities with you. I am writing this letter to ask for your support for my ministry.
    My name is Peter Yelchuri and I am the President of Holy Land Ministries – India.
    As you know, India does not have the social services, medical and Food, care or help. There are many of widows, lepers and handicapped people and street orphans are living, they are really in need of Food, clothes, education and medical help certainly they are in need of love from some one.
    We are taking care of 40 orphan children and others with families who are too poor to be able to attend school or even enjoy regular meals.
    Every orphan child has a heart breaking history. We find them in miserable conditions, having lost their parents in cyclones, floods, fire, accidents etc. Then they slowly become accustomed to our love and care.
    Unfortunately our resources are very limited and so we are not able to feed them regularly even two times a day. For lack of funds we are not able to give them sufficient food. At such times they get up from their plates with half-filled bellies. We not only have to feed them, but also provide them with shelter, clothes and bedding. But it is very difficult for us to look after all these needs in these days of famine and soaring costs.
    Please uphold our Ministry in your regular prayers. However, we do take to the streets with food and utensils so these people won’t die of starvation. Please stretch out your hand of compassion to fill their bellies and wipe the tears from their cheeks. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Thanking you
    Sincerely.
    Peter Yelchuri

    Web Site; http://www.hlmindia.org
    E Mail; holylandorphanage@yahoo.com

  • Andreea 18 August, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Hello for everibady.my name is andreea,im from romania and i have 25 years old.i have a little boy.he have now 1 year and 11 mounths.everithing wass ok till 4-5 mounths ago,when my husband lose the job.now we move in a vilage and we stay at a old women.i take care of her and she dont ask ur money for rent.my husband go to help people here at work and at end of mounth he recive 100-150euro.with this money is verry hard .if exist here some1 who wanna help us we will accept all kind of donations,toys,clothes,shos,milk, cereals,etc.everithing is ok for us.we dont ask to be new.can be old.we dont have internet but my neybor have and i can come to check my mails.u can contact me at emaemanuelle@yahoo.com. Tnx u verry much.

  • Josephat Kirutu 21 September, 2012, 6:44 pm

    Dear Friends,
    How can we, a poor orphanage in Mwanza, Tanzania, get help from your organization?

    The name of our orphanage is Watoto Wa Africa Orphanage.

    It is found in Mwanza, Tanzania.

    This is home to 108 children.

    We need cloths, food, mosquito nets, shoes, blankets, bedsheets, help to start income generating projects in aim of making this orphanage more self-reliant and less dependent on grants which are gradually becoming unavailable. We need school fees help, etc.

    We are a registered non profit organization with registration number 14NGO/1525.

    Watoto Wa Africa Orphanage is now 13 years old since it was founded.

    You can read about us on the websites of Kids Aid Tanzania, Hope Without Borders, Christians Abroad and that of Watoto, made by a former volunteer, http://watotowaafrica.org/ .

    We also need volunteers.

    Thanks very much,

    Josephat Kirutu.