When I first left corporate and dedicated my life to giving back -- being part of the solution instead of being of the majority who sit around and complain -- I knew that the children I worked with and those who found me would have to have the same spirit instilled in them. A genius once said that to whom much is given much is expected. I truly believed that and in the Nguni proverb that say izandla ziyagezana "one hand washes the other."
The festive season is always about that. It's not about the price tag of the gift but about the difference it will make in the recipient's life. It easy to sign a cheque and send it in the post but it's more important to have the children there with me folding the winter clothes we no longer use to drop off at a shelter. Picking the veggies to drop of at the local creche etc.
Last year I had a sponsor who bought 10 pairs of school shoes to kids at the local primary school and everyone in the house had to contribute toward buying each recipient a lovely shoe to wear in the festive season that way they'd only wear their new pair of school shoes in the new school year.
This year (together with a few friends of mine) we are making shoe box goodies for a place of safety that's two towns away. This is how we'll be doing it:
1. Shoe box
We're upcycling old shoe boxes into treasure chests.
2. There are 50 boys and girls between 8-14 who won't be out of the home for the holidays and our gifts are for them. We've separated them into 8-11 and 12-14 groups. That way a person can say my gift is for a boy in the 12-14 category.
3. After a Saturday picnic with some of the children it was clear that the 8-11 group is keen on superhero branded toys while the 12-14 are a bit more introspective.
4. We've opted not to include any hygiene products in the boxes but you are more than welcome to do a toiletry pack with yours -- they are very thoughtful.
5. We're doing our best to get to know as many of the recipients as possible to be able to give them meaningful personal gifts.
6. It's not the price tag. It's the effort and thought behind the gift that matters.
If you would also like to make and give a box but don't know how to then go to this link , they will put you in touch with children who need your generosity.
What you can include in your box:
2. Books and educational games
4. Age appropriate crafts tools and a project to complete.
How have you been teaching your children to give?